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Somalia, AU mull strategy to secure elections

Thursday November 21, 2019

MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali police have held a meeting to discuss ways and strategies to provide adequate security for the upcoming one-person-one-vote elections.

The AU mission said on Wednesday that Abdi Hassan Mohamed, commissioner of the Somali Police Force (SPF), said there was a need to identify locations where the elections will take place, the number of people who will take part in the elections and also to train extra police to help secure the elections.

"The ministry of internal security has already nominated a number of commissioners at the regional and federal level to come together but what we need is to decentralize from the headquarters down to the regions and every village where the elections will take place," Mohamed said according to the statement from the AU mission.

He told the meeting that tremendous progress had been made by the government, working together with international partners, to enhance the security of Mogadishu, other cities and villages across the country.

The meeting brought together senior AMISOM and SPF personnel where Mohamed gave an update on the newly formed Election Security Task Force and how AMISOM could support the task force by providing security for both the parliamentary and presidential elections, expected to be held in 2020/2021.

Francisco Madeira, head of AMISOM emphasized the need for AMISOM and the SPF to work closely together in order to not only secure the elections but also enhance security all across so that the Somali people can go about their lives normally.

"What we need is to see how these small incidents (of attacks by militants) which are still taking place can also be put under control," Madeira said.

"We need to look at a number of issues ranging from the resources that are available, how we can secure the elections, especially drawing from our past experience and then the critical issue of identifying areas where the elections are going to take place," he added.

During the meeting, the AU mission also offered to provide strategic communication support to the Election Security Taskforce to inspire public confidence in security preparations ahead, during and after the elections.

Somalia, with the help of AMISOM and the UN, is making urgent preparations for universal suffrage elections, which will be the first of its kind after more than two decades since the outbreak of the civil war that followed the collapse of the Somali government in 1992.


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