SOMALIA: Tensions high in Bossaso as president shakes up intelligence agency

BOSSASO (Somalilandpress) — Tensions are said to be high in Bossaso, the commercial hub of Puntland, after a sudden shake up at the top echelon of Somalia’s semi-autonomous region’s security establishment.

Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed “Farole” issued a presidential decree, dated March 12th, ordering the replacement of the former chairman of Puntland Intelligence Service (PIS), Osman Diana, and appointing Qardho based, Col. Ali Mohamed Yusuf “Binge”.

The president also added that the agency has been renamed Puntland Intelligence Agency and Puntland Security Force ( PIA/PSF).

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According to local reports, Mr Osman refused to step-down and has since seized full control of PIS’s second office in Lanta Hawada neighborhood in the port city of Bossaso.

The reports added that forces loyal to Osman Diana have imposed a curfew in parts of the city over night while shutting off electricity.

The reports added that Mr Farole is concerned about PIS’s independent role and wants the agency directly under the government. Mr Farole also accuses the agency of abusing it’s powers because of foreign influences, including illegal arrests.

It is not clear how the issue will be resolved or if Mr Osman Diana will step down.

The PIS, which functions independently was established almost a decade ago and is considered the most powerful institution in Puntland. The PIS is said to receive at least 50 per cent of Puntland’s annual income as well as funds from Western intelligence services.

Mr Osman Diana was appointed as the head of the agency by the former Puntland leader, Gen. Muse Adde and was the chairman since 2004.

Somalilandpress, 14th March 2010

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