15/03/08 (B439) Garowe online : Le Ministre de la Sécurité (intérieur) du Puntland démissionne – Somalia: Puntland Security Minister Resigns – (Info lecteur en Anglais du 11/03/08)

The security minister in Somalia’s semiautonomous State of Puntland has handed President Mohamud “Adde” Muse his official resignation papers, inside sources tell Garowe Online.

Abdullahi Said Samatar, who was appointed in January, resigned after facing stiff resistance from police commanders and some Cabinet ministers.

According to our sources, senior police commanders working at strategic locations in the port city of Bossaso refused to accept Samatar’s order to report for training at Armo Police Academy, south of Bossaso.

These police commandants’ refusal is linked to fear that Samatar aimed to replace them at their jobs if they reported to Armo, the sources added.

People who know Samatar well described him as a man with advanced knowledge of police operations, with plans to improve the Puntland police force from the officer level to commanders.

But he has faced resistance from the region’s security establishment since his appointment nearly two months ago, including from police chief Abdiaziz Ga’amey who rejected Samatar’s past attempts to replace several commanders.

Further, Puntland Intelligence Service (PIS) director Osman “Diana” Abdullahi has steadfastly refused to come under the jurisdiction of not only the Puntland Ministry of Security, but even the Somali federal government as a whole, sources said.

Mr. Diana reportedly told Ministry of Security officials that PIS comes under the direct authority of the American government, with sources linking his comment to CIA funding for the PIS.

Puntland government sources tell Garowe Online that domestic pressure that caused Samatar’s resignation originated from Finance Minister Mohamed “Gaagaab” Ali, who opposed Samatar’s appointment to the Cabinet from the beginning.

Mr. Gaagaab refused attempts to establish a separate budget for the Ministry of Security, which was designed to be independent of the Finance Ministry he leads.

Other sources pointed to Gaagaab’s close relations with senior security officials leading the mutiny against Samatar’s Ministry of Security.

Clan elders have held talks with Samatar in an attempt to reverse his decision to resign, but no reports emerged from that meeting.

Meanwhile, President Muse formally accepted Samatar’s resignation Monday evening, sources said.

The Puntland government is expected to organize and hold presidential elections next January, but critics say the government has been crippled by overt corruption, nepotism and a weak leader.

The region’s security has gradually deteriorated during the rule of the current administration, with organized crime activities including piracy, kidnappings and human trafficking on the rise