27 July 2011
Somalia: Puntland Govt Defines ‘Dialogue’ with Armed Groups
Following a limited amnesty extended to armed groups by the President of Puntland State of Somalia, H.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole), on the occasion of the swearing-in ceremony for the Puntland Electoral Commission on 17 July, the Government of Puntland has initiated dialogue with the community of Galgala area (Al Medo Mountains).
An initial meeting took place on 21 July at Af-urur village, of Sanaag region, where local community representatives engaged in direct dialogue with Puntland Government officials.
Since the Galgala community is a constituency of Puntland, the Government has fully supported the ongoing community dialogue process to prevent renewed conflict and to encourage community reconciliation.
The objective of the dialogue process was two-fold:
- To persuade community members misled by Al Shabaab terrorist propaganda to abandon the anti-government armed conflict;
- To identify and isolate core terrorist elements.
To be clear, the amnesty and dialogue process excludes: 1) wanted terrorists; 2) known murderers; and 3) militants who come from outside of Puntland to destabilize the State.
The ongoing dialogue process has achieved an understanding, as local communities have shown willingness and commitment to prevent the terrorists’ recruitment of local youth.
As a gesture of good faith, the Government has released eight men jailed for suspected involvement with Al Shabaab; however, none of them were accused or convicted of murder.
Puntland’s Counterterrorism Law and its Anti-Piracy Law are in place. The Government categorically rejects some media speculation, which by ignorance or political motivation, asserted that the High Crimes Court was disbanded due to the ongoing dialogue process.
For jurisdictional purposes, the High Judiciary Council has opted to limit the jurisdiction of high crimes, such as terrorism and piracy, within the ordinary regional courts of Puntland. This is in line with the request of the Puntland Parliament and conforms to the Puntland Constitution.