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Puntland president appoints new presidential escort commander

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online
The new presidential guard unit commander of Puntland

GAROWE, Puntland - The northeastern Federal State of Puntland has appointed a new presidential escort commander, a move which comes after the death of the immediate former boss, who was killed on Sunday in Galkayo, following a confrontation with armed bandits, police said in a report.

Abdulkadir Jama Dirir will be in charge of the security of President Said Abdullahi Deni, and will now guide the elite Corps following the death of Col. Osman Omar Mohamed, a task which is one of the toughest assignment in a country like Somalia which is under persistent terror threats.

The new commander will among others, ensure the safety of the president all the time, including coming up with a dude roaster on who should be accompanying Deni to functions. Such duties are bestowed upon loyalists, those believed to be very close to authorities.

Besides taking care of the president's security details, the commander will also vet those who are given the assignments. The commander was picked from among the elite Puntland Security Forces team which undergoes training with guidance from overseas.

Col. Osman Omar Mohamed was killed by a team believed to be a local militia who attacked Kabista compound in Galkayo. Also left dead after the confrontation was another bodyguard and until now, nobody claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

Reports indicate that Col. Osman was killed during an anti-drug operation in northern Galkayo which targeted criminal elements who are also said to be financing terrorists across Puntland and Galmadug. Several other people were injured during the incident, officials said.

The commander was in charge of President Said Abdullahi Deni's security team and his death comes as Puntland at loggerheads with the federal government of Somalia in Mogadishu which was accused of voilating the consitituion. 

In recent months, Puntland has been battling with surging cases of terrorism which is also coupled with persistent attacks waged by local militia. The Al-Shabaab militants have struct the federal state several times this year despite the fact that it's one of the most peaceful regions in Somalia.

For instance, in May, suspected Al-Shabaab militants killed Mudug Governor Muse Nur in Galkayo. Before the governor's death, a senior revenue collection officer had been killed by the same militants in Galkayo moments after he left a local mosque.

At Garowe, the regional administrative capital of Puntland, the militants also killed Nugaal Governor Abdisalan Hassan Hersi near a police station in Garowe. Terror incidents have also been reported in several parts of Puntland including Bosaso where regional security officers have been running operations against the militants.

A fortnight ago, the US army, which conducted the first-ever strike against the Al-Shabaab, reportedly killing at least seven terrorists. However, Puntland regional forces, which claimed that over 20 terrorists had been killed, said a senior Pakistani fighter was among casualties.

Deni has been backing operations against drug lords and tribal militia who he accuses of undermining security in the state. The drug lords are believed to be main sponsors of terrorism in Somalia thus endless operations against them across the country.


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