3 January 2013

Somalia: Puntland Minister Warns Against Al Shabaab and 'Political Spoilers'

Bossaso — The security minister in Somalia 's Puntland government Gen. Khalif Issa Mudan has warned the Puntland public against Al Shabaab militant group "infiltrating " Puntland regions, while condemning "political spoilers " who oppose democratizing Puntland, Garowe Online reports.

Minister Mudan gave the closing speech on Wednesday at the conclusion of a two-day meeting on peace and security discussions held in the port city of Bossaso, Puntland 's commercial hub. The meeting was organized by Bari provincial administration supported by DRC nongovernmental organization.

"Al Shabaab terrorist group is infiltrating Puntland and I urge the public to remain vigilant of terrorists," said Minister Mudan, adding: "We are telling the c ommunity elders that any person suspected of being Al Shabaab member will not be released until proven innocent because Al Shabaab is a threat to national security. "

Minister Mudan said that Puntland government "is committed to maintaining peace and stability and Puntland is prepared to fight Al Shabaab terrorists hiding in the Galgala mountains" while noting that Puntland government forces are "sufficient" for the security of Puntland.

'Political spoilers in Puntland'

Continuing, Minister Mudan said Puntland government "acknowledges that only registered political associations approved by the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission can organize political meetings and travel across Puntland and the government will provide security because the political associations are legal. "

READ: Somalia: Timeline for Puntland Constitutional and Democratization Process

Minister Mudan warned "political spoilers who oppose the democratization process in Puntland " and encouraged the public to support Puntland government 's plans to transition the state from clan-based system to multiparty democratic elections.

Puntland Deputy Interior Minister Ali Yusuf Ali Hosh, Bari Governor Abdisamad Mohamed Gallan, and Bossaso community elders also spoke at the closing ceremony and underlined the importance of maintaining peace and security in Puntland.

Last week, the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission announced that six political associations have been legally registered in Puntland to compete in local elections scheduled for mid-2013.

Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole has adamantly defended the state's constitution and ongoing democratization process to lead Puntland towards multiparty elections, while "political spoilers" oppose democratizing Puntland, government officials say.

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