By Yousef Timacade

In this article, we will explore the concerns surrounding Somaliland’s National Intelligence Agency. Despite being a non-law enforcement agency, it operates detention centers, which is illegal and poses a threat to human rights and national security. Additionally, we will discuss how the agency’s focus on limiting freedom of speech hampers its ability to fulfill its responsibilities.

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is a critical entity responsible for safeguarding Somaliland’s national security. It plays a crucial role in gathering intelligence, counterintelligence, and protecting the country’s interests both domestically and internationally.

The agency was established with the purpose of safeguarding national security and collecting intelligence information, operating independently from the police. Its primary focus is to ensure the safety and welfare of the citizens of Somaliland. Its primary responsibility is to collect and analyze intelligence to support national security objectives. To ensure efficient operations, it is crucial that the agency operates strictly within its jurisdiction as defined by the National Intelligence Agency Act. 59/2012.

The agency is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence information to relevant authorities. This includes monitoring potential threats, counterterrorism efforts, and supporting the country’s overall security framework. However, the agency is not authorized to engage in law enforcement activities, such as detaining individuals. This important distinction ensures the protection of human rights and prevents the misuse of power.

Somaliland’s National Intelligence Agency, though not a law enforcement body, has been operating detention centers in violation of its own laws. This raises serious concerns about human rights and undermines the nation’s security. It is essential to address these issues and ensure the agency operates within legal boundaries.

The operation of detention centers by Somaliland’s National Intelligence Agency is a flagrant violation of its own mandate. These centers undermine human rights, as detainees may be held without the necessary legal protections, raising concerns about mistreatment and abuse.

The head of the NIA currently holds the title of “Commander.” However, this title fails to reflect the agency’s true nature as an intelligence organization. The agency’s primary responsibility is to ensure national security, which involves assessing potential threats, gathering intelligence, and collaborating with relevant stakeholders. However, its efforts seem disproportionately concentrated on curbing freedom of speech.

It is worrisome that the agency seems preoccupied with curbing freedom of speech instead of fulfilling its core responsibilities. This undermines democratic values and stifles the open dialogue necessary for societal growth. The agency’s actions create a chilling effect on public discourse, discouraging citizens from expressing their opinions freely. This hampers active participation, opportunities for constructive criticism, and ultimately hinders progress.

The NIA’s leadership position should be restructured to align with international standards and best practices in intelligence agencies worldwide. Appointing a Director General with a university degree in intelligence or related fields can enhance the agency’s capabilities and professionalism. The agency should work collaboratively with other institutions and communities to strengthen national security efforts. By neglecting this important responsibility, it prevents the effective utilization of resources and expertise for the overall benefit of Somaliland.

The NIA’s role in safeguarding the national security of Somaliland is of utmost importance. By undertaking the necessary steps to restructure the agency’s leadership position and ensuring it operates within its jurisdiction, the government can strengthen the intelligence community and protect the country’s interests. The president should provide strategic guidance to the agency, aligning its objectives with the overall national security strategy. He must ensure that it operates within the boundaries defined by its enabling legislation and should provide oversight and hold the agency accountable for its actions and decisions.

Addressing the concerns regarding Somaliland’s National Intelligence Agency is crucial for upholding human rights and maintaining national security. By ensuring the agency operates within the confines of the law and focuses on its core responsibilities, we can strive towards a stronger, more inclusive society.

Yousef Timacade.

Yousef Timacade is lawyer, legal analyst and commentator. He has a master’s degrees in law and executive management, and has been working with national and international non governmental organizations for the last ten years in the areas of program management, research, and human rights.