Saturday, March 26, 2016
MOGADISHU (HOL) –Hundreds of Somalis have taken to the streets of the Somali capital Saturday, protesting against the United Nations’ Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group which they said dedicated its reports on Somalia to ‘distort’ the facts on the ground.
In its recent reports, the monitoring group has routinely accused Somali officials of mishandling public and donors’ funds meant for Somalia, and at one point the group identified a man it said carried out a suicide attack in Somalia, however, Somali government said that the man mentioned in the report is ‘innocent’ and denied he carried out an attack.
“Such outlandish allegations and mischaracterization of public officials remain the modus operandi of SEMG leaderships both past and present”, said Muhidin Hassan Ahmed, a traditional elder who attended the rally, questioning the integrity of the organization.
The angry protestors who gathered at the Hidden Soldier’s monument also denounced SEMG for ‘defaming’ and discrediting both public and private individuals in its reports on Somalia, demanding Somali president to strongly demand from the UN Security Council to ‘immediately’ dismiss members of the SEMG.
“The SEMG’s reports continue to discredit innocent Somalis without justifiable grounds, and at times using the narrative of terrorism to maintain the status quo as that clearly promotes anarchy and perception of chaos across the country,” said a statement from Somalia’s security ministry.
“Such poor judgment is a destructive nature to the peacebuilding process in Somalia, and undermines the efforts of the Somali government and the international community to combat terrorism.” It said.
For years, questions were being raised over the credibility of previous reports by the United Nations Monitoring group on Somalia, with the group come under fire for allegations that Somalia’s defunct Islamic Courts Union sent more than 700 fighters to fight alongside the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah group in its war with Israel in 2006.
In the report, the group also alleged that the militia in Lebanon returned the favor by providing training and — through its patrons Iran and Syria — weapons to the Islamic alliance struggling for control of Somalia.
The United Nation which subsequently replaced the SEMG’s chiefs hasn’t however responded to the waves of denials and denunciations the reports by the group sparked around the world.