Somalia in massive recruitment of police officers

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The government of Somalia now says it is in the process of recruiting more police officers in a move aimed at ensuring the military is not overstretched.

The Prime Minister of Somalia Omar Sharmarke said the military needs some back up since it has been on the offensive for a very long period of time.

Mr. Sharmarke said the plan reflects a new phase in Somalia’s fight against the Al Shabaab terror group which continues to launch regular assaults against Somali security forces despite losing large swaths of territory.

But he conceded that cash-strapped Somalia, which recently cut its budget and is already struggling to pay its overstretched military, might not immediately have funds to pay for it.

“Now the focus is going to be on the enemy rather than on territory. What we’re trying to do is take the offensive. You can’t keep military soldiers guarding cities,” said the Prime Minister.

Al Shabaab has been driven out of major towns and coastal strongholds since the African Union peacekeeping force and the Somali National Army launched an offensive last year.

But the group, which wants to topple Somalia’s Western-backed government, still holds rural areas such as the Juba Valley corridor that leads to the strategic southern port of Kismayu.

Sharmarke said the idea to reorganize security forces was in part a response to al Shabaab’s attack last month on an African Union base in Somalia.

The Somali Premier also said the government is committed to holding elections on schedule, before President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s first term ends next August.

In July, the government ruled out holding a democratic “one man, one vote” election, citing security concerns.

Somalia will see a process similar to the one held in 2012, when elders appointed Members of Parliament who then elected the President.

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