Attention: Brigadier Mohamed Fadal Iman
Re: Rogue police officers
Though Desiderata preached that we should not compare ourselves to others, for if we do so we might feel superior or inferior to the compared lot, there are a number of questions that calls for urgent answers to the treatment afforded to different groups of persons in Somaliland when it comes to police dealings with the public. On closer scrutiny of the situation prevailing in the country, one wonders whether there are three classes of citizens; one that owns the nation, common men & another that are always viewed with suspicion, doubt and mistrust.
East Africans living in Hargeisa are experiencing a difficult time with law enforcement officers due to frequent reports of hoax reaching police desks portraying them as dangerous criminals jeopardizing the security apparatus of the state; allegations with malice & hatred propagated by locals whose intentions are unknown.
On or about 26th February this year police picked Mr Mohamed Osman Diriye and Said Hassan Dahir, the Chairman & Deputy Chairman of East African Community in Somaliland from their respective homes for suspicion of terror related activities before detaining them at CID headquarters for eight days where they were interrogated to ascertain their involvement in terrorism charges by Counter Terror Unit (CTU).
The two joined another East African, Omar Ali Omar whose arrest led to the incarceration of the national leaders. They were subjected to solitary confinement and kept in the dark against the charges facing them as no questioning was carried for the first three days in order to cushion investigations from interference of corrupt wealthy individuals and close family members.
Upon recording individual statements corroborating same testimony, preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects had nothing to do with the grievous charges levelled against the trio. Latter senior officers at CID headquarters concluded that the probe screened the suspects to confirm their identity with respect to tribe before finally setting them off the hook.
While in custody friends & relatives were ostensibly denied to visit except handing food to officers manning the gate so as to tag them as dangerous elements.
To add salt to injuries when memories were freshly lingering with the ordeal undergone by our brethren, police again on the night of 28th April frogmarched three East African Somalilanders from the comfort of their sleep to New Hargeisa Police Station to answer vague and ambiguous charges.
This time each suspect was detained separately in cells with other inmates where they spend the night only to be released the following day when no complainant(s) turned up. It later became apparent to the police that the charges were defect, flawed & could not hold water.
The Officer Commanding Station (OCS) Chief Inspector Bedel was informed that they were Maymay sorcerers from Hiran region of Somalia and were practising witchcraft for material gain: allegations that were initiated by local informers with malice whose intents are not yet clear coupled with rogue officers that are cheaply sold with two michins of khat to effect unlawful arrest of innocent law abiding citizens. Inspector Bedel then ordered the three to be held incommunicado to let investigations take its course.
How on earth do you detain someone after unscrupulous informers mislead law enforcers? Do you first probe the claim before effecting arrest or you apprehend to investigate later? Which is which Mr Police Commissioner?
Prior to arrest their house was illegally searched inside-out and up-side down but nothing of significant was found in their possession with exception of some literature whose contents they (arresting officers) could not comprehend because it was written in English.
It is also believed that some individuals warned the three of detention alleging that they were not true sons of this soil.
The question then is, why all these hoax & setups targeting Somalilanders born elsewhere particularly those from East African countries.
Relevant Constitutional Provision
The 2001 Somaliland Constitution contains provisions on the rights of citizens. Of important interest is the right of an accused person. Article 8(1) guarantees equality before the law. It affords everyone equal treatment with regard to the law. That no one is above the law is not in question.
The provision of Article 8 (2-3) specifically prohibits discrimination among people including foreigners.
The supreme law provides a set of individuals’ freedom which the state may only take away through lawful procedure in accordance to Article 24(1).
It also establishes that the state may not detain individuals without a lawful warrant of arrest under Article 25(2).
Security officers ought not to apply law selectively. They should not act in a manner contrary to the law irrespective of the information in their possession incriminating the suspects.
Brigadier Fadal, let me remind you that injustice arises when equal are treated unequally and also when unequal are treated equally. It seems most of your officers are unaware of Somalilanders with dual nationality.
East African Somalilanders in the country are organized and can provide the Government with essential data pertaining to them.
Famous writer George Orwell in Animal Farm articulates that ‘’all animals are equal but some are more equal than others’’ Does this rule apply in the operations of the police force Sir.
In light of these we call upon police leadership to authorize an inquest into the incidents of unlawful detention by going back to the drawing board and identify where the problem stemmed from.
On the question of citizenship the Constitution qualifies a descendant of persons residing in Somaliland prior to 26th June 1960 as a citizen.
It is our contention that the predicaments of Somalilanders born elsewhere have brought about a challenge fundamental to how the state view persons with dual citizenship and delaying in solving it, should not be understood to mean that it is incapable of a just & proper solution, for if we cannot be part of the solution, we are part of the problem.
Lastly we look forward to a non-racial just & egalitarian nation in which culture & language shall form no part of reference when dealing with citizens.
It is our hope that you shall act on our grievances in earliest time possible.
Thank you Sir.
Abdihakim M. Osman
Indigenous Somalilanders of East Africa
The writer can be reached via