Top African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) officials, led by the Deputy Special Representative of Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) Simon Mulongo, were in Baidoa on Thursday for meetings on strengthening security and cooperation ahead of upcoming elections in the country.
Mulongo, who was accompanied by AMISOM Police Commissioner, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Augustine Magnus Kailie and AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in Charge of Support and Logistics, Maj. Gen. Gerbi Regassa Kebede, had a meeting with the Southwest State of Somalia President, Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed ‘Laftagareen’ and Southwest State Speaker of Parliament, Said Ali Fiqi.
Their discussions were about ways to improve the capacity of Southwest State police and enhance joint security patrols with AMISOM Formed Police Units during the election period.
“We met with the Speaker of Parliament and his team who are responsible for security. We also met His Excellency the President of Southwest State, with whom we discussed similar matters that will ensure that there is smooth coordination, co-operation and operations in the whole of Southwest State. We agreed on how Southwest State Police are going to be organized and re-organized for the purposes of enhancing their policing activities,” Mulongo said.
“We have also met with the AMISOM police and military component. We discussed issues of re-aligning and harmonizing our activities in the region and in the sector. Particularly, we looked at how the Formed Police Unit, together with Individual Police Officers, can better collaborate with Somali police to ensure that they strengthen matters of policing, especially as we plan for a secure electoral process in the whole of Southwest State,” he said.
AMISOM Police Commissioner, AIGP Kailie reiterated the importance of working closely with Somali forces to improve security during and in the aftermath of the electoral process.
“We came here to harmonize our operations. Elections are approaching, so we have to provide joint security. The police will be involved, the military will be involved, the civilian component will also be involved. Because of that, we have put modalities in place on how to jointly provide security for the elections,” AIGP Kailie said.
Somalia is preparing for crucial national elections, and AMISOM is mandated to provide security during the process in a spirit of consensus and collaboration with the Somali security agencies to ensure the process is secure.
The AMISOM Police Component and the Somali Police Force (SPF) are both part of the National Election Taskforce, the highest security team tasked with securing the elections.
The taskforce will have satellite command centres across the country including Baidoa in Southwest State.