MOGADISHU (HORN OBSERVER) Fake Somali police officers have been enrolled into a Russian-supported law enforcement training intended to capacitate Somali Police Force, according to leaked documents obtained by Horn Observer.
In May 2021, the Russian Embassy in Djibouti offered to support Somali Police Force with a five-year training program which covers psychology of service of law enforcement bodies, legal aspects of national security and forensic inquiry. The training was taking place at various universities attached to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
However, when Russian ambassador to Djibouti and Somalia, Mr. Mikhail Golovanov invited Somali police chief, Abdi Hassan Hijar to select appropriate candidates for the training program, the Somali side did not follow a due process and instead picked fake officers who were enrolled for the course, officers privy to the matter told Horn Observer.
The five officers enrolled for the training are: Jama Abshir Elmi, Harun Mohamed Yasin, Ahmed Abdishakur Mohamed, Abdisalan Suleiman Abdikarin and Abdirizak Mohamed Yusuf. According to the document, the five officers (one of them picked as reserve) have been selected to attend the Vladimir Kikot Moscow University which is a higher institution under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
“None of the five are genuine police officers. It is surprising that their passports were ordered and processed in less than a week and all their birth places are indicated as Lasanod except one who says he is born in Borama,” a senior ranking Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D) who demanded anonymity due to his safety told Horn Observer.
The Somali police chief, an ally of president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, is hailing from Lasanod city in Sool region.
Sool is a disputed region, claimed as sovereign territory by both the breakaway Somaliland and the Somalia Federal Member State of Puntland.
“While 90% of the Somali police officers are from south and central regions, it is hard to authenticate names of those who claim to be police officers,” adds the officer who even spoke about other incidents where police ranking has been mismanaged and tampered.
Horn Observer investigation has learnt that junior officers had reported the fake police officers list to the office of president Farmaajo.
“No action was taken. Apparently, the president did not want to harm his ally General Abdi Hassan Hijar who comes from the same clan as the president’s mother,” the officer adds.
When contacted for this report, Somali police chief, General Abdi Hijar and his deputy General Zakia Hussein declined to respond to our questions regarding these allegations.
CORRUPTION IN THE POLICE SERVICE
Widespread corruption pervades within the Somali police force. Officers and security experts we interviewed say the most serious issue is the ranking system and positions of the police officers, as ghost or spurious names are added to the police remuneration system for accessing police payroll.
Police training programs is another opportunity to make quick money for senior officers, according to three officers who spoke to Horn Observer and a complaint report sent to the Somali Independent Anti-Corruption Commission.
“Due to the high unemployment rate for young people, it is seen by many youth as an opportunity to buy trainings slots in the police in order for them to illegally migrate to Europe, the United States and Canada. Most of the so-called officers sent in the past three years have not returned to the country. They have escaped the training and sought exile in other foreign countries,” they said.
The Police Administrative Command and the Complaints Unit have repeatedly received complaints about officers being removed from their posts, with their ranks being replaced with other names.
“Officers from minority clans are specifically targeted,” said the three officers who sent the complaint report.
LOWER SHABELLE OFFICER’S COMPLAINT
In one complaint seen by Horn Observer, Wanla Weyn Police Commander, Abdalla Boorow Mohamed, wrote that one of his officers has been wrongly marked as “missing and was placed on circular” after he went to the hospital due to to injuries he sustained late 2020 and was supported by a medical report by the hospital. The letter addressed at the Lower Shabelle regional police command, Mr. Boorow called for the lifting “suspension” from the soldier.
Despite the complaint, the officer is still on suspension but his police roll number is active meaning that his salary and stipend is being received by someone else.
“I’m shocked that while I am still on suspension, my salary is being sent and someone else is receiving it. Not me,” the soldier Osman Omar Nuune told Horn Observer.