MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Somali National Army [SNA] Troops have been warned about the misuse of firearms across the country, following new reports of increasing cases of violence by military men, which have raised questions about the relationship between civilians and security forces.
Chief of the Military Court Colonel Hassan Ali Nor [Shute] fired warning against SNA troops as he visited the contingent serving in Balad-Hawo in the Gedo region just inside the Kenya-Somalia border. The troops have been guarding the city since February this year, when they were first deployed to the site.
In a harsh statement, Colonel Shute, who has been handling cases of Al-Shabaab militants and members of the SNA accused of gross human rights abuses, insisted that the military’s first duty is to protect innocent civilians from terrorists who have wreaked havoc in the country.
He said the guns should be used effectively to protect the public instead of discouraging them. Should anyone be caught in violation of the law, he added, his department will not hesitate to take strict action out of courtesy.
“I want to remind you that your sole responsibility is to protect civilians and nothing else,” the military chief said. “You must use the weapons that are appropriate, if we do not take, we will take strict action that includes ensuring you are prosecuted.”
SNA troops have often been accused of gross human rights abuses, especially in Gedo, where they recently clashed with Jubaland forces in Balad-Hawo, a city bordering Kenya. The troops were deployed in February as differences between President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe escalated.
At one point or another, businesses were shut down in the city when the two groups came together to control the city. SNA troops have also been accused of grossly violating human rights, including but not limited to the rape and harassment of business people.
The hard-talking head of the Military Court Colonel Hassan Ali Nor[ShutehavdeogsådømtFarhanMohamudHassanderhartjentiSNAienretsforfølgelsederudsætterinfiltrationiregeringsinstitutionerafAl-Shabaabmilitanternederhargjortkaosidenkrigsherjedenationiflereår[ShutehadalsoconvictedFarhanMohamudHassanwhohasbeenservingintheSNAinaprosecutionthatexposesinfiltrationingovernmentinstitutionsbytheAl-Shabaabmilitantswhohavebeenwreakinghavocinthewar-tornnationforseveralyears[ShutehavdeogsådømtFarhanMohamudHassanderhartjentiSNAienretsforfølgelsederudsætterinfiltrationiregeringsinstitutionerafAl-Shabaab-militanternederhargjortkaosidenkrigsherjedenationiflereår[ShutehadalsoconvictedFarhanMohamudHassanwhohasbeenservingintheSNAinaprosecutionthatexposesinfiltrationingovernmentinstitutionsbytheAl-Shabaabmilitantswhohavebeenwreakinghavocinthewar-tornnationforseveralyears
The convict confessed in an interview with local media to joining the Al-Qaeda-linked group in 2010 in the Kenya-Somali border town of Balad-Hawo, but would later use Amnesty provided by Somalia security forces to defect, and was later recruited to the SNA to help fight former allies.
But intelligence services in Somalia linked him to infiltration of the SNA after investigating his conduct before he was arrested in military court. The prisoner was beaten with a life sentence and would spend his entire life behind bars for breaking trust and lying to the state.
Shockingly, Farhan Mohamud Hassan admitted to helping Al-Shabaab transport explosives to Al-Shabaab to Manda Bay in Kenya before the deadly January 5 attack on the U.S. naval base used to train regional forces from across East Africa.
“I joined Al-Shabaab in 2010 before leaving the Somali National Army. But I helped them transport explosives to Manda Airfield, where they carried out an attack,” Mohamed said in a confession that briefly shocked journalists and the senior military officials following his convictions.
The Gedo region has been experiencing both security and political unrest for several months now, and Al-Shabaab has exploited a conflict between the SNA and Jubaland forces that have been fighting together for territorial control. FGS has fought to galvanize support from the region.