By Steven Candia
The Uganda Police Force (UPF) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Somali National Police Force (SNPF) will among other enhance cooperation between them and add muscle to efforts to combat terrorism. The enhanced cooperation will pave way for capacity building by the forces through increased training, acquisition of equipment and intelligence information sharing, with the view the possibility of carrying out joint operations, with both sides benefitting.
Gen. Kale Kayihura yesterday signed on behalf of the UPF while Brig. Gen. Abdihakim Dahir Sa’eed, the Somali police boss signed on behalf of SNPF at the function held at the Kampala Serena hotel. “The principle is we jointly build capacity. Where there is a weakness we rectify and where there is a strength we share,” Kayihura said. The benefits of signing of the MoU Kayihura said should also have profound effect on the fight against terrorism, with regard to information sharing.
The Somali Police has always wanted UPF to assist it train its personnel in the fields of Counter Terrorism (CT), crime investigations, community policing and information sharing. The two police have had a fairly long history of cooperation which has seen UPF training officers of the SNPF and sending some personnel to Mogadishu on peace keeping missions where they have been involved in carrying joint patrols.
According to Kayihura there are close to 400 Uganda police officers in Somalia. Speaking at the same function, Dahir hailed UPF for its role in Somalia particularly uplifting the standards of the SNPF through training and sending some personnel there to pacify the place. ‘The Uganda police is doing a great job in Somalia patrolling the city and the regions to make peace and enhance capacity building,” Dahir said.
Somalia has for long been known as a base and launch pad for terrorists, with the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab terror outfit using it as a base to launch attacks in Somalia and also export terrorism beyond its borders. The Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the July 2010 twin terror attacks in Uganda which claimed over 80 lives and left scores injured or maimed. It also claimed responsibility for the grisly September 2013 Westgate shopping mall incident in the Kenyan capital Nairobi that left over 60 dead and has since issued a series of threats against Uganda and several countries in the region.