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Somali security officers, media train in media relations

By Cecilia Okoth

Added 31st January 2016 04:33 PM

Personnel drawn from various security agencies in Somalia are attending the three-day training in the Somali capital Mogadishu, organized jointly by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

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Some of the AMISOM officers patrolling Mogadishu, Somalia Photo/AFP

Personnel drawn from various security agencies in Somalia are attending the three-day training in the Somali capital Mogadishu, organized jointly by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

 
 
Considered as one of the most dangerous places to practice journalism, personnel from security institutions in Somalia are undergoing training on how to enhance relations with the media, thanks to the relative peace ushered in by the African Union.

Uganda is one of the countries taking part in the peace keeping mission under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which, together with the Somali National Army have managed to eject the Al-Shabaab militia from the capital and many other parts, returning relative peace to the country after decades of war and anarchy.

Personnel drawn from various security agencies in Somalia are attending the three-day training in the Somali capital Mogadishu, organized jointly by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

The training focuses on the protection of journalists and improving cooperation with the media, aimed at expanding the enjoyment of freedom of expression and association in the previously war torn Horn of Africa nation.

Speaking at the opening of the training, the Director General in the Ministry of Internal Security Yusuf Ali Mohamed noted that the training was borne out of the realization that both parties need one another and that the ministry was working closely with the media to improve the safety of journalists.

"Somali media and the Internal Security ministry have recognized the need to work together. Staff from the Internal Security ministry need to understand that they need to interface with journalists and that they can learn something from the media," Mohamed said.

Statistics from the International Non-Governmental Organization committee to Protect journalists shows that 59 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 1992, moments after the country was plunged into chaos.

Mohamed noted that the Somali government had put in place measures aimed at protecting journalists from undue attacks, citing a new law that had recently been passed by parliament.

The law according to him seeks to among others regulate the media, safe guard their work and protect journalists.

The training is facilitated by Ian Lafreniere of the Corporate Communications section of the Montreal Police Service.

Lafreniere urged journalists and internal security officers to respect each other, saying they both have important roles to play in maintaining democracy.

"Your initial interaction with the media may be difficult but try to exercise restraint and show some respect to the profession," Lafreniere told the internal security officers.

Not so long ago, the Kenyan military bases in Somalia, was under attack, leaving several Kenyan soldiers wounded.

 Maj. Gen. Nakibus Lakara, the AMISOM acting force commander during his visit to the El-Adde Kenya military base said in the eight years that AMISOM has been in Somalia, huge strides have been made in the restoration of peace in most parts of the country, giving way to the Federal Government consolidating and expanding its control over the territory.

But for lasting peace to be achieved, Lakara said the Somali people must reject and extract Al Shabaab terrorists from their midst in order to rid themselves of terror, as the task cannot be left to AMISOM alone.

 

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