Somalia: PSF failure fueled by corruption and nepotism, says ex-official

Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Mohayyidin Salad, who served in PSF for years l

GAROWE, Puntland - An army officer who lost his right leg in combat against Al-Shabab has gone viral on a short  video attacking Puntland Security Forces [PSF], Garowe Online reports.

Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Mohayyidin Salad, who served in PSF for years lost the limb in 2015 while fighting the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab militants in Galgala hills of Bari region, northeast of Somalia.

In a 8-minute video which obtained by Garowe Online,  Salad shared a powerful information about his ordeal and how he has been neglected by the command of PSF after sustaining the life-changing injury.

"I'm an official who worked for Puntland army, specially PSF, my name is Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Mohayadin Salad, I got wounded in an attack in in Galgala by the Islamists on Friday morning, January 2015 and subsequently lost my right leg. I opted to speak to media and reveal facts in  PSF," he said.

The short video that went viral on social media, the ex- serviceman blamed the commanding officers of PSF for vast corruption and nepotism, who use their commands as a way to build a personal nest egg

After investigation, Garowe Online learnt that the officer's real name is Mohamed Asse and he joined Puntland Defense Force in 2009 from Mudug province.

He further stated that said poor leadership, corruption and nepotism in PSF contributed to the failure in the fight against the terrorist groups, Al-Shabab and ISIL-affiliated militants in Puntland's Bari region.

The official disclosed that the rife of the nepotism in PSF led the State Force to fell under the rule of one family commanders from the lower ranks to the top.

"Asad Osman Diano is the director of PSF, while his deputy is his own brother Mohamud Osman who is also the chief of the force's division in Galkayo city, whereas their uncle Bariyow serves as his assistant and his second brother is the head of finance. The state army is beset by favoritism,"  he added.

The fraud and nepotism in PSF sparked to mass desertions by many high-ranking officials who abandoned their post, indicating that there’s a problem with morale to continue war on terrorists.

"Have you ever seen a high-ranked official in PSF, why? I tell you the reason, now I'm a Lieutenant General but I have not had power while in the army because of my rank was in the bag of Asad Osman... Those with the ranks still in PSF are being allowed to show theirs in meetings," said Asse.

This has forced the valuable and efficient commanders to abandon PSF due to the current crisis.

Continuing, Asse pointed out that the state forces became demoralized as they are underpaid or unpaid for months and ripped off constantly by their commanding officers, who steal their little allowances.

Corruption has sapped the U.S. funds meant for soldiers and 60% of the money fell in the hands of the PSF boss and his close relatives in the command, according to the former member of the fragile force.

This is believed to have resulted from the current government failure to pay the regular salaries of the security forces and ensure the accountability in the funds from the U.S. and other partner countries.

Finally, the former commander said the fault in PSF was put out of sight of the U.S. and Puntland government, calling both to act quickly to stop the ongoing corruption in the soldiers' funds.

Bari region, a nerve centre of the economic source for Puntland is on the verge to turn a militant stronghold as pro-Islamic State and Al-Shabaab fighters are growing their presence and deadly attacks.

This comes as Puntland,  a Federal Member State in northeastern Somalia is preparing to hold Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2019 amid calls for timely, free and fair vote.

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