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Since the hardline Islamic insurgent group, al-Shabaab, fled Mogadishu in August of last year, Somalia’s police forces have been working hard to maintain security throughout the capital. To learn more about their efforts, Somalia Report interviewed Shekhuna Maya, the police commissioner of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG).
General Shekhuna, thank you for this interview. Can you please tell us what you have achieved so far?
Thank you for this opportunity. Thanks to God that we are now able to serve the people after so many years of war. As today’s police commissioner, I have it better than any other in the past years. The police today are well coordinated and attend to their duties efficiently, as per the level of the expectation. They are capable of implementing the government’s policies. They keep law and order in almost all parts in Mogadishu.
Where do the police work?
The police work everywhere in Mogadishu. We want to separate ourselves from the army, but right now we work together. We deal with arrests and investigations. In the near future we shall have an independent police force that will maintain law and order in the country.
Who trains the police and where are the trained?
The police are trained locally though the intelligence services were trained in neighboring Kenya. The country is at war so most of the resources are directed to the army. The police are not a priority. As soon as we end the transition period, we shall have a fully established and well equipped police force.
What challenges do your police face?
The police generally face a lot of challenges. For example, the police are keeping order in a community that is used to lawless environment. There is high degree of ignorance among the people. A person twenty years of age will tell you he has never seen anything to do with rules or constitutions so how do you expect such person to obey laws of the country? I was thinking of a situation where we introduce a program entitled, "Know your Constitution" on our national television station so we can at least educate the people on their role and responsibility in the government.
Residents have said that police harass, shoot and loot people. How do you respond to those allegations?
Those are false accusations and any complaints that comes to our attention, we deal with appropriately. People have not adopted to this system and that is where harassment comes from. Our forces are committed to serving their community without any harassment.
Have you or will you deploy police to other southern regions like Bay and Bakol?
No, we have never deployed there because that area is fresh and fighting can occur at any given time. Therefore we decided to postpone until we take control of the whole region.
Do you have any message for the Somali people?
I wish to inform them that TFG is doing everything possible to make sure the citizens are safe. I am requesting the citizens to collaborate with the government to ensure peace and stability in our country and capital.