September 11, 2019
Members of the International Community working with Somalia have had developed and adhere to a system of security rating in various parts of Somalia. This starts with points such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on. The lower the number, the better rating for the area peace and stability, the safer it is for expatriate organizations and foreign personnel to go and spend a night there.
There are also contradictions in the system of rating as you discover that Mogadishu is one of the most dangerous places for an expatriate to visit. But, it is the most frequented place by foreigners in the country. Why? This happens in Mogadishu because of the following reasons:
1. There is Xalane Campound, which is off-limits to access by natives and therefore safer than elsewhere in Somalia
2. There is more money, more opportunities to make money and more capacity to absorb aid. That attracts more expatriates to Mogadishu.
Another contradiction in this rating is the fact that Garowe City is many times safer than most big cities of the USA. The difference is that the law and order situation in the US is many times better than that of Garowe – If incidents happen, security reaction is swift. There are no people walking with guns and driving technicals in towns in the USA or Western Europe.
But, the bottomline in the security rating on Somali towns by UN and other foreign agencies is the notion that, in a tribal society, violence can break out any time without prior warning – there is no reliable peace in a tribal society. Personal safety and public security could deteriorate spontaneously.
Clearing out signs of insecurity in towns, however, could help improve this foreign imposed ratings. For example, an expatriate foreign worker could bring his/her family members along with him/her to Hargeisa. They can’t that in Garowe. Why? Because in Hargeisa, you don’t see people moving with guns and roving technicals and security escort pick-ups, while to do that is fashionable in Garowe, even among former politicians and officials. That is damaging to Garowe security rating. In Puntland cities, one often sees many individual stray soldiers clad in military fatigues and guns wandering about, especially around Qat stalls. This is a sign of insecurity in cities.
Once, I saw a heavily guarded UN convoy in Garowe, perhaps UN VIP visiting, onboard white vehicles with UN inscription, led by two Puntland Army technicals. That made me sad as it showed me that the government isn’t sophisticated enough to conceal such display of insecurity in town. Ironically, these UN guys are the ones who make the security rating for Puntland Zone. These security escorts for them are from the Presidency itself. Do something about it.