Somalia: Puntland Security Force [PSF] director defiant after dismissal
BOSSASO - Puntland president sacked on Wednesday the director of the state security force Mohamud Abdullahi Osman [Diano], a move that the government wants to improve the work of PSF.
Osman, the sacked PSF boss took over the office of his brother Asad Abdullahi Osman [Diano], who left the post to run for Puntland president in January 2019. He failed to win the election.
In protest of the dismissal of their boss, PSF soldiers abandoned their base in Galgala mountains, where they were deployed to fight against Al-Shabaab, according to multiple security sources.
Top officials at the ministry of security reached out to PSF commanders to defuse the tension that could derail the hard-won gains made in the fight against the Al-Shabaab and ISIS groups.
There are reports that officers from the U.S. Africa Command [AFRICOM] will pay a visit to Bossaso, Puntland’s commercial hub on the Gulf of Aden. The aim of their trip remains unclear.
“The visit by the AFRICOM commanders was pre-planned and not related to the current situation. It’s possible to discuss with us about the changes to security chiefs,” said a PSF official who didn’t want to be named, told Garowe Online by phone.
PSF which is one of the pillars of security agencies in Puntland has been at the forefront of the war against terrorist groups since its inception in 2004. Late Osman Abdullahi Diano was the first to lead it.
Osman was relieved of his duties by president Abdirahman Farole in 2010 and replaced with his son Asad Diano who handed over the power to his brother who has been sent home by Deni.
Puntland’s security minister Abdisamad Gallan announced that he is committed to enforcing the presidential decree to replace the PSF director and install his replacement in office at any cost.
While he was speaking in Bossaso on Friday, Gallan has instructed PSF service members to remain on their bases and take orders from the new director that was appointed by president Deni.
“All PSF soldiers in Bossaso were instructed to stay in their positions and avoid anything that damages the security of Puntland which we all took the oath to protect,” said the minister.
Knowing its family business, AFRICOM provides support for the Puntland security force which has an estimated 4,000-5,000 active personnel in the fight against Al-Shabaab and ISIS militant group based in the Bari region.
For his part, Puntland’s Darwish force commander General Yasin Omar has warned against division within PFS and urged the sacked director and his loyalists to obey the law and order.
“It’s unfortunate the troops to be pulled out of their bases in the frontline. This kills the PSF image. I say to fired officials “The power could not be seized by gunpoint and rebellion”, he added.
According to Gallan, Deni’s decision to change PSF leadership came following complaints about power abuse while the soldiers have been denied access to their rights for promotions.
“I hope the new PSF director Mohamed Amin will fix all issues in a mess and focus on a united front in the war against our enemy and the terrorists,” the security minister has added.
Puntland – the oldest Federal-State in Somalia has been relatively calm when compared to the others parts of the south. Despite facing double threats from Al-Shabaab and ISIS, it enjoys peace that allowed it to hold the first democratic local election in October this year.