Somalia: Puntland Rejects ABC Media Criticism of Anti-Piracy Force

13 September 2012 Puntland Government rejects baseless allegations and misleading connotations
aiming to criticize the anti-piracy training program in Puntland State of Somalia.

In a video and written report entitled, “Australian accused of funding private
Somali army,” published on 6 September 2012 on the Australian Broadcasting
Corporation (ABC) website, the ABC program was provided misleading
information by objectionable sources, and the program resulted in misleading
public opinion regarding the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF), the
Puntland Government’s locally recruited and professional force that deters and
disrupts piracy criminal activities on land and at sea.

This misleading and defamatory report’s key source is Mr. Matt Bryden, the
former Coordinator of the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG). During Mr.
Bryden’s time as Coordinator, SEMG reports to the U.N. Security Council have
been drafted in an unprofessional manner and intentionally biased against the
Puntland Government’s consistent anti-piracy activities, as Mr. Bryden is known
to favor one region of troubled Somalia at the expense of other Somali regions.
Contrary to Mr. Bryden’s allegations that the PMPF is a “private army”, the PMPF
is a legitimate government security force mandated with fighting piracy and illegal
fishing activities along the Puntland coastline.

Additionally, the security forces depicted on the ABC video program consisted of
various Puntland Government security forces, including paramilitary Darawishta
forces, Puntland Police Force, and PMPF units, on a celebration parade in the
capital Garowe marking Puntland State’s 13th-year anniversary.

Puntland Government expects from internationally known media organizations,
such as Australia’s ABC, to behave with exceptional professionalism and to
refrain from broadcasting biased media programs and citing objectionable
sources for news content.

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