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UK Accused of Training and Supporting Deadly Somaliland Counter-Terrorism Unit

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By Ben Bryant


The UK is providing training and support to a Somaliland counterterrorism unit accused of unlawful killings and political intimidation, according to members of Somaliland's parliament.


The Rapid Reaction Unit (RRU), a Somaliland paramilitary counter-terror squad established in 2012, was deployed by President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud's administration on November 15 to prevent opposition members of parliament (MPs) from entering parliament in order to influence a vote, members of Somaliland's parliament told VICE News.


A report by Somaliland's Human Rights Center, published Tuesday, also blamed the RRU for the deaths of at least two demonstrators after soldiers allegedly fired at a group of them indiscriminately. MPs confirmed that the RRU had been accused of killing protestors at demonstrations.


Citing "security reasons," the UK Foreign Office will not confirm or deny to VICE News whether it provides assistance to the RRU. However, the British government has previously released details of support, including security equipment, vehicles, a UK-built headquarters, and a pretrial detention facility — all "gifted" as part of its counter-terrorism program.


Abdirahman Mohamed Jama, a Waddani party MP, accused the president of using the paramilitary unit as a personal task force, and said that British forces are regularly witnessed training the RRU at a camp in Hargeisa.


"I have seen with my own eyes that they were training them how to shoot," he said. "I saw them learning how to shoot bullets a month ago at a camp in Hargeisa.


"It's not a secret," he added. "Everybody in Somaliland knows that the British are funding the RRU."


An annual report by the Somaliland Human Rights Center released on Tuesday said that the number of soldiers in the RRU has doubled from 50 to 100 in the last two years.


The RRU uses "unnecessary force" against civilians and "sometimes beat suspects," the report claims.


On December 28, 2013, police and RRU forces opened fire on civilians protesting water shortages in Hargeisa, resulting in the deaths of two demonstrators, the report said.


Underground chemists in the UK are trying to bring Quaaludes back. Read more here.


On November 15, Jama says that he and 28 opposition MPs were denied entry to parliament in an apparent attempt to influence a vote on a new speaker of the house. RRU and other state security forces numbering around 400 had occupied the building.


Jama described the November 15 incident as "the final demolition of the Somaliland democracy process."


Warning shots were fired, five members of parliament were arrested, and two were "badly beaten" by police, Jama says. All were released without charge several hours later.


"They were trying to prevent people from voting," he said.


The pre-arranged vote did not go ahead after MPs inside the House left in protest, and a quorum was not present.


The speaker of the House of Representatives told VICE News that the security forces attempted to disarm his bodyguards and refuse him entry as he approached parliament.


"Maybe a kilometer away from the House there was a checkpoint with a large number of security forces including the RRU," Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi said. "In order to avoid a clash I decided to continue to my house. They are powerful now. Everybody is afraid."


"We were very lucky we weren't hurt," Jama told VICE News. "The ruling party was very angry of the support we had in parts of Somalia."


Protests followed the military occupation of parliament, which, according to Jama, led to the deaths of at least three people.


"Whenever there is a protest in Somaliland, they don't use water cannons, they don't use rubber bullets. They use live bullets to disperse a crowd. Bullets kill people," Jama said. "They fired indiscriminately into the crowds."


Jama, who is also a British citizen and former teacher at a number of schools in the London borough of Harrow, said he was "ashamed" of the use of taxpayer money to fund the "oppressive" force.


"I urge the UK government to review its funding and support to the RRU," he said.

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Siilaanyo was taking the money to fund terrorists in Galgala moutains instead of doing counter-terrorism. The UK money was wasted and in return Britain was indirectly aiding and supporting alshabab was was blowing up innocent people in Puntland. what a shame niyoow.


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What do you expect from him, he even failed to have basic decorum for

the nation's parliament and tried to use the RRU as his own personal

bodyguards to overthrow others in a poor failed attempt.

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2016 - Hargeisa, Somaliland


Members of the Kulmiye Party have complained to the British Government about the level of aid and assistance it provides to the Somaliland Armed Forces. Mr Hersi Ali Haji Adan, a former minister in the Kulmiye Government and a current opposition MP, complained that the administration of Mr Faisal Ali Warabe’s UCID party has led the Somaliland people down the garden path. “When we ruled the country, we were fair and listened to the complaints of our opposition. However, Mr Warabe with the subtle collusion of the Wadani Party, has refused to listen to any of our experienced misgivings about his unconstitutional use of our armed forces in curbing demonstrations all around Somaliland”. Muse Bihi Abdi, the chairman and current leader of the party has also expressed his annoyance with Mr Warabe’s actions. “This government is trying to destroy everything we worked hard to build in the last six years. They have already disbanded the RRU, are attempting to reverse the free school attendance for primary school kids and want to renege some of the treaties and memos of understanding that we have with some of our friends abroad. Our sources also tell us that they have been having secret correspondence with the administration in Somalia regarding a covert plan for reunification”.


Both the Somaliland and British governments refused to make a comment.



2022 – Hargeisa, Somaliland


Jamal Ali Hussein who recently won the elections as the leader of the Kulmiye Party has denounced the actions of his former colleagues in attempting to force the UK government to take sides on the dispute over the Naaso Hablood 18 May decorations. “This is a celebration of our independence and as the president of this proud country, I believe there is nothing wrong with colouring those two erectly proud mountains with the Somaliland flag” said president Jamal.


Muse Bihi Abdi, the current Ucid Party leader (and former Kulmiye chairman) expressed his bemusement at the reactions of the president. “We are not opposing the celebration of 18 May or the draping of the flag on those two mountains. What we object to is the involvement of the UK government in providing funds for such a trivial action. Somaliland has a national annual budget and the government should be using that instead of begging for outside assistance. Alas, we believe that this government has squandered most of its Budget when building the new presidential palace on the outskirts of Berbera”.


Hersi Ali Haji Adan, the leader of the Wadani Party has joined Mr Bihi Abdi in condemning the government for its actions. “Why beg from the UK when we can borrow from Dahabshiil?” asked Mr Hersi.


Both the Somaliland and British governments refused to make a comment.



2045 – Hargeisa, Somaliland


Ali Tafara the leader of the small Somaliland Oromo Party (Orom-Somali) has been elected as leader of the breakaway tiny Horn of Africa state. In his acceptance speech he highlighted the hard work and dedication of the Somaliland people and thanked the many previous leaders that made it possible for him to be the first Oromo to be elected as leader in this blessed land. “We were an oppressed minority” he said “we didn’t have a voice and couldn’t defend our interests. But the wise leaders of Somaliland, by implementing laws and procedures that forbade discrimination and racism along clan, gender and ancestral lines allowed our small community to flourish and take full part in the Somaliland political process. We won this election because of our vision for a healthy and hopeful future for this great country of ours. We won because we opposed oppression and have promised to disband the dreaded RRU that was and remains a British fifth column”.


The British government refused to make a comment.



20100 – Hargeisa, The United Yemeni Republic


In a hotly contested election, Mr Fadi Abu Shanab of the Kulmiye Party beat Mr Bashar Al Hadrami of the UCID Party by 80 votes. The UCID party have demanded a recount and accused the British Government of colluding with Mr Abu Shanab.


The British government refused to make a comment.


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