Somali women help restore security in Mogadishu

By Adnan Hussein in Mogadishu

May 11, 2012

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The Somali police force has embraced women police officers to help bring peace and stability and enable the Transitional Federal Government to transition to an elected government in August.

  • Women officers with the Somali police force parade ahead of a handover ceremony for equipment donated by the Japanese government this year to support the rebuilding of the Mogadishu police force. [Stuart Price/AU-UN IST/AFP]

    Women officers with the Somali police force parade ahead of a handover ceremony for equipment donated by the Japanese government this year to support the rebuilding of the Mogadishu police force. [Stuart Price/AU-UN IST/AFP]

  • Somali women and men security forces work together in Mogadishu, pictured here on Friday (May 11th). [Adnan Hussein/Sabahi]

    Somali women and men security forces work together in Mogadishu, pictured here on Friday (May 11th). [Adnan Hussein/Sabahi]

Commander Sharif Sheikhuna Meh of the Somali police told Sabahi that the police have recruited 1,800 women since the beginning of 2011. He said the transitional government has opened the door for women to join the army and police as a way to break the silence and fear imposed by al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab.

Meh said young women have been flocking to army and police recruitment centres to become officers, who receive a monthly salary of $200. Even though police work is dangerous in Somalia, it has become a profession of choice for women who are willing to make sacrifices to bring security to their country, he said.

Women police officers can now be seen on the streets of Mogadishu, in government buildings, in military armoured vehicles, on police patrols and policing traffic, none of which was possible in the past.

Retired Colonel Mohammed Osman Jilieo said women have been enthusiastic to serve their country and maintain stability and security for the Somali people.

Jilieo said assassination plots from Islamists and opposition from family used to prevent women from joining the military and police forces, as they believed it would tarnish their faith and customs.

In order to qualify for the force, women undergo rigorous training in camps inside Somalia and abroad.

General Hussain Mukhtar Afrah, a Somali police commander famous for leading the war that ousted the Islamic Courts Union in 2006, told Sabahi that police train Somali women at academies in Mogadishu and in Armo village, close to Bosaso.

He said efforts to reinforce local police present an opportunity to lessen the burden on soldiers in the African Union peacekeeping mission.

Afrah called on the Somali people to continue supporting the transitional government and to allow their daughters to join the security services as a way to reduce violence and end the reign of extremists in the central and southern parts of the country.

Fatima Osman, 24, completed her training at the Manyani police station in Mombasa, Kenya, and has worked as a police officer for four months.

Osman told Sabahi that she is happy to serve her country and her people. She said she wants to help restore calm and put in place a government structure that allows everyone to live peacefully.

She said young women like herself started joining the police and army in large numbers last year, when Somali government and allied forces pushed al-Shabaab out of their bases in Mogadishu.

Colonel Abdullah Shinoo, commander of the presidential guard at Villa Mogadishu, told Sabahi that incorporating women into the security forces aids home searches and searches of women in public places.

"Some criminals hide behind their women," Shinoo said. "Al-Shabaab militants and drug dealers used the women of their households to hide their weapons and their merchandise, and as a result, search operations to find them failed."

Habiba Ahmed, 22, works as a police officer at the Ex-Control Afgoye checkpoint at the entrance of Mogadishu. Motorists coming from the direction of the former al-Shabaab strongholds of Elasha Biyaha and Afgoye are searched at the checkpoint before entering the capital.

Ahmed inspects women to make sure they are not carrying weapons or explosives. Male members of the security forces at the checkpoint conduct large-scale searches of vehicles and passengers.

"I consider myself to be a hero because I have thwarted many operations by women who travel from al-Shabaab-controlled areas heading towards Mogadishu," Ahmed said. "I managed to foil suicide attacks and smuggling of explosives into the Bakara market in an operation that targeted the security forces."

Ahmed said her decision to join the security forces was personal.

"I am still fighting to eradicate the terrorism that killed my brother in the coastal city of Merca. He was accused of spying for government forces because he was a student, and he did not make it to his twentieth birthday," she said. "We were forced to leave the city, and for these reasons, I decided to join the police so I can be a knight that hunts down the enemies of peace."

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Reader's Comments

  • Edward # 195
    July 30, 2012 @ 03:50:10PM

    I never knew this was an examinable commissioner consider me for the audio tomorrow 31/07/12 bcos i ve made an effort to learn more about somalia.Indeed women are men's life wire.

  • faddy
    July 26, 2012 @ 03:38:25AM

    behind a successful man there must be a woman otherwise a single finger cannot hide a louse

  • Janet Wanjiku
    July 24, 2012 @ 05:09:54AM

    Somali women in the army and police!! Bravo, Al-Shabaab watch out: your best bet is to join the peace efforts in your country and chose peace, love, harmony and development over ideologies. We cannot eat ideology and everybody in Somaia needs to join hands with their mothers and sisters who have defied tradition and put their lives on the line to bring peace back to this lovely country. Bravo ladies, bravo, God is with you.Go Go Go

  • ck
    June 6, 2012 @ 04:46:17AM

    It takes a million people to build a good reputation, but it takes one stupid fool to destroy what you have made...Lucky Philip Dube. Women are the pillars of peace and this voluntary action by the Somali wowen will give a different face of Somali. Keep your nation for the benefit of your children and children's children. It is no easy task, but it is doabale. In the end, the voices of crying children will be replaced with voices of laughter. For Al-shabab, they do not know what they are doing to thier country.

  • john cherutich
    June 4, 2012 @ 10:09:08AM

    I like the gains the Amisom together with the somali Army have managed although if not checked Alshabaab may be intergratn with pple later to start the crimes against humanity again.

  • 33881
    June 4, 2012 @ 09:34:37AM

    I think its broad and heroic of these young women to agree to such a daungting task

  • Bilal Al-Somali
    June 2, 2012 @ 07:57:41PM

    well Done, insha allah you clean the danger..

  • Paul Adhoch
    June 2, 2012 @ 11:57:45AM

    Great women of Somalia. I salute you..

  • Geoffrey muricho
    June 1, 2012 @ 09:36:06AM

    Thank to somalian women.iI respect you...

    May 31, 2012 @ 08:41:42AM

    Bravo mighty ladies for the great distinct to preface the solders to your enemy my o mighty god shower you with blessing, let them be a uprooted so that peace love and tranquility prevail. Hongera again and again.

  • connie juma
    May 30, 2012 @ 12:05:40PM

    Thumbs up to the patriotic somali women and its a plus for them to be in the police force

  • stanley
    May 30, 2012 @ 11:22:38AM

    Tha arrticle is wel outlined, as somali women thy've volontiered to bring calmness in their country as away of developing torestiring househood of security their nation " i salute u keep up" many terrorist hide their backs bihind the womens is hightime for them 2 surrender.

  • abdul
    May 30, 2012 @ 08:07:03AM

    Keep it up ma ladies

  • caroline oundo
    May 30, 2012 @ 03:35:25AM

    I salute congratulate somali women, god bless you. Thanks. caroline

  • Shila
    May 29, 2012 @ 10:45:54AM

    It is excellent, we love it here in Kenya. It is good we have some sanity in Somalia. We want Somalia to thrive again. Brave gals. Go! go! go! go!

  • evans omega
    May 29, 2012 @ 05:57:05AM

    thumbs in the air 4 they somali women

  • Isaac Karimi
    May 28, 2012 @ 06:07:42AM

    Heko Somali women this is great , you might be the tools of peace the world has been waiting for all the years . God bless you as you continue with the spirit .

    May 28, 2012 @ 04:58:55AM

    Women's are our mothers/parents,like men's. we need them to support us or to support the nation. Let them have some position to contribute towards the development of the nation.fight for your rights.we support you.good luck.

  • tiberius kisiangani
    May 28, 2012 @ 01:13:58AM

    it is good for womens also to fight and die for their nation.congrats somali women.

  • thomas kerongo
    May 27, 2012 @ 01:17:39PM

    congratulations for our somali females for their commitment to eliminate the disaster in their country bravo

  • barrack
    May 27, 2012 @ 05:05:49AM

    The Somali women.. I salute and congratulate you.

  • mwangij
    May 27, 2012 @ 01:01:45AM

    women have every right to champion this course.Its them who bear the wrath of war since they cant escape without their siblings. women too have influence and appeal. They are the solution. BRAVOO ladies join hand and redeem your motherland.

    May 26, 2012 @ 10:40:18AM

    That is the way foward to have women in nation building and that is also to preach peace in the whole comunity of somalia .This a new dawn for this country and also to show women of the land that not only the can serve their country but also they can even lead . GOD WE PRAY THAT YOU LIBERATE SOMALA THROUGH OUR ARMIES .

  • njuni james
    May 25, 2012 @ 08:19:28AM

    women r indid tha right persons 2 stableliz Somalia and any other nation across tha globe.Congrats 4 tha thought!

  • joseph mwandairo
    May 25, 2012 @ 05:40:39AM

    thats the way forward for our neighbours and brothers of somalia , be at peace with yourselves women have to be involved.........................contine aluta.

  • obbyero erick
    May 25, 2012 @ 03:31:16AM

    wat a man can do a woman can do even better!

  • abdifatah mohamed
    May 24, 2012 @ 03:23:48PM

    wow what encourage it is i am so happy to see our mothers are taking part the peace in our mother land and they are ready to remove dirty from our country

  • ali omar
    May 24, 2012 @ 08:54:12AM

    Congratulations to the women whom should continue the peace keeping they have been doing for the community and we appreciate their efforts very much.

  • Joram Odima
    May 24, 2012 @ 06:20:25AM

    This is a big plus for the Somali government bravo for the women who have realized that their security depends on them, other African should emulate this culture.

  • issadhin
    May 23, 2012 @ 12:43:03PM

    exellent job 2 the somali women.inshallah God wil help them in evrythng they goin 2 do

  • fuad musa
    May 22, 2012 @ 07:56:47AM


  • regina
    May 22, 2012 @ 07:40:32AM

    kudos our csters.

  • John W. Kang'ethe
    May 22, 2012 @ 05:43:34AM

    Bravo to the Somali women. Esther of the Bible, Miriam Sister to Moses among others, are heroins of old. Somali women should and I believe will take their rightful place in their society and build that which men have and will always fail to achieve-true selfless leadership. God bless Somalia, God bless Somali women and God bless the wrighter of this very good piece.

  • Omwansa Lionel
    May 22, 2012 @ 01:08:57AM

    Well done Somali for involving women in restoring peace in the country. Also sensitie and involve the yourth. Wish you sucess in every endevour that you make.

  • victor nyami
    May 21, 2012 @ 07:16:38AM

    excellent idea somaliland for allowing those with tender heart to join the army they know the pain of delivering the youngs i love them coz they are our first bodyguards u will soon hav peace but use them as ur mothers and ur legitimate sisters best luck

  • cabdishakuur
    May 21, 2012 @ 04:21:13AM

    I am strongly disagree that a woman be a police or other related things because it is a vunerable.

  • Brian Mandela
    May 21, 2012 @ 03:41:07AM

    What men can do also women can do,it all starts with us,women in Somalia have taken a remarkable initiative and I believe it won`t go in vain.Big up!Enemies of peace should be eliminated completely!

  • Filsan Abdillahi
    May 21, 2012 @ 03:06:42AM

    Excellent work my sisters.Inshallah we gonna have peace in Somalia Soon.InnaAllah Maa Swabirin

  • Felisiah Nelly
    May 20, 2012 @ 11:29:50AM

    For a man to be perfect there must be a woman, women are known as peacemakers coz wherever there's war they are the once most affected. S o for Somalis to have their peace a woman has to be involved, Bravo Somali women may Allah grant you all the courage to bring Alshaab down.

  • fredrick muoki
    May 20, 2012 @ 07:36:57AM

    cohesiveness thrives..

  • Bryceson L Nassari
    May 19, 2012 @ 07:22:50AM

    To allow the young women to join the Police and Army force is the way to save the Somali country. For a long time women in somalia because of traditional and religion believes were not given opportunity to save their country. Actual it help nothing a lot of women and children dead. So women are good in protecting society especially women and children. I support this program.

  • pm macharria
    May 19, 2012 @ 04:50:22AM

    they can because God is with them so women never give up

  • vincrent lex
    May 19, 2012 @ 04:17:47AM

    that is a a good step 2 bring peace,its only woman dat knws dwe pain 2 loose is blood

  • martin mutethia
    May 18, 2012 @ 10:50:54AM

    what a man can do a woman can do

  • Joel Nandwa
    May 18, 2012 @ 08:40:53AM

    United Somali will regain the peace and stability that it deserves,this will not only benefit them but will also be a benefit to the sorrounding countries and to the world in general,acknowlegement to all the women who are in to see this drea come true,

  • Rose
    May 18, 2012 @ 08:37:29AM

    Big up for Somali women.They are the only people who can help bring peace in their country.The once who suffer most are women and children in times of conflict.We pray to the Most High God to help them and give them strength.Peace i Somali means Peace to Africa,

  • prince tasher
    May 18, 2012 @ 04:04:49AM

    i thinks its a great example to other females around the world and i woul like to congratulate the somali women for their courage and motivation may you be guarded by the Almighty in yo mission.

  • mutheu muoki
    May 18, 2012 @ 02:36:59AM

    well,what can i say.women got what is takes and as somebody said earlier they should b given many leadership positions.congrats Somalia ladies!!

  • Amat M. Omar
    May 17, 2012 @ 01:13:48PM

    Why lie women are known to be peacefull people worldwide, infact Somali women are the most affected in this senseless war. l pray to Almighty Allah to give them courage and strength to face this criminals.

  • Peter Titi
    May 17, 2012 @ 11:30:51AM

    I am happy to read that the Islamic Women now in Somali can help to eradicate All=shabaab. Keep up sisters and soon your country will be freed from Al sdhabaab thugs.

  • domy
    May 17, 2012 @ 10:27:37AM

    yes,peaceful sorrounding we need

  • David Sikuku
    May 17, 2012 @ 09:15:01AM

    Thanks very much for sisters in somalia who are the peace makers of the nation let somalia be a nation of peace not nation of war.we pray to allah to give them strengh to tackle terrorism.we are behind them.

    May 17, 2012 @ 08:44:05AM


  • kuthur Moha
    May 17, 2012 @ 05:47:20AM

    I think that the Al Shabab should enter in some form of negotiations with the current somali 'governemnt' or 'administration' since they are also somalis in order for peace to reign in the country. Endless war only brings untold suffering to the somali people who are now wanted as refugees anywhere because the world is 'tired' of them. The Somali, once a proud people have been reduced to beggars and conveyors of contraband and few can trust them because of their 'low educational levels' . Somalis need to make a bold step for peace and their country will once more be a great east african nation with a dignified say in African affairs!

  • hamse
    May 17, 2012 @ 04:13:33AM

    Praise be to God. I am very blissful to see peace restored in Somalia through the efforts made by the Somalis who were long time victims of disasters. It will be unfortunate for any Somali group to defy peace restoration in the country. The Somalis have to learn a lesson from the difficulties they have undergone for a long time and be mindful of their country’s peace and prosperity. The people of south Somalia region have to consult and learn a lesson from the people of Somaliland who organized themselves by putting up their own system of regional government immediately after the civil war begun in the country. It is Somalia which needs assistance from Somaliland today but Somaliland does not require any help from Somalia. I pray to God to help the Somalis understand their interest. Amen.

  • Prophetess Catherine njeri gichinga
    May 17, 2012 @ 03:53:48AM

    it seems as if God created women as the stronger being..women are better leaders and sorry i have sons,but i think men in leadership have failed the entire universe,they have failed God their creator!!! this is a good sign from heaven,where women are willing to be peacemakers in ravaged somalia..i pray that soonest we as kenyans can travel as tourist in somalia some day....enjoying the peace!! Jesus bless You!!

  • Wadani
    May 17, 2012 @ 02:50:44AM

    It is too early to predict that Al-shabab has weakened and sanity and peace marched in. Even with weakness of Alshabab, the alternatives are even weaker. The Government is in live support conditions, and women being in the forces would not change anything, What we need is a good governance and responsible leaders and commanders. This mercenary so call (PS), that the so call leader in the TFG can't answer their contracts and ToRs, the so call TFG parliamentarian dead bodies, and selfish ministers who are there for their personal interests, the AMASOM solders from the worst countries in Africa that couldnot even help their countries there for their own rehabilitation and yet given all privileges by the international community.

  • indes eddy
    May 17, 2012 @ 02:25:53AM

    Equality shld b honoured.bravo our women

  • Joseph Kimondo
    May 17, 2012 @ 01:59:23AM

    Sure.Somalia is coming of age.Wemen are people and infact they serve with alot of dedication.

  • joe kam
    May 16, 2012 @ 12:22:53PM

    congrats to somalia women for sacrificing themselve to takeup this challenge of defending their country from terrorism. I think they will become our heroes and mothers of somalia and the world at large.

  • Kimario Ngalai
    May 15, 2012 @ 07:00:51AM

    Hearty congratulations my sisters for the courage you displayed

  • Ali Abdirahmaan hashi
    May 14, 2012 @ 08:19:15AM

    In my opinion, i think Al-Shabaab has weakened and it doesn’t have the strengthen it had last year. Therefore, I would like to appeal to the government and the public in general to embark on a better strategy to eliminate the members of this group from the country.

    May 12, 2012 @ 10:08:21AM

    It is good we have some sanity In Somalia. Let women go for positions not only military but every where man can go. This fighting in Somalia began when I a boy today I am an old man are you not tired of fighting you people. Kindly stop war and start building your country.Be like your neighbors .They are very peaceful . We should pray to God that he sends angels of peace to Somalia so that these problems can end.

  • chef mogotu
    May 12, 2012 @ 07:02:45AM

    what we need is just peace ,these can help to reduce the proplems .and let those al-shabab stop threatening the forces

  • Johan Ras
    May 11, 2012 @ 09:51:34PM

    Excellent. Women must be utilized just as men in all facets of crime prevention and counter-terrorism. They are also mothers who have the biggest influence upon their children. They are the real peace makers.

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