By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The government has institutionalized the Oil Protection Unit-OPU as an arm complementing other security agencies in the country.
The establishment of the OPU mandated with providing security and protection to oil exploration and extraction was revealed in a presidential decree # JSL/M/XERM/249-2800/092014, issued by President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo from the presidency in Hargeisa on the 27th Sept 2014.
President Silanyo informed that only currently serving members from both the army and police force shall be recruited to the OPU with the new special force falling under the overall command of the national police commissioner and the interior as its line ministry.
“The government establishes the OPU as a result of the imperatives involved in creating a conducive environment for oil exploration and extraction activities in the Country” read the presidential decree adding that strenuous consultations with relevant stakeholders and more specifically the ministries of defense and interior were undertaken.
Attributing his powers to constitute the Oil Protection Unit, to authority conferred his office by the Somaliland constitution and various laws president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo, in his decree said he was guided by
1. Articles 123 and 124 of the Somaliland constitution whose stipulations relate to the formation of the three branches of the country’s Forces namely Army, Police and Custodial corps.
2. Article 90 Section 4 of the Somaliland constitution that bestows upon him, president, powers of the Somaliland armed forces Commander-in-chief
3. Article 12 Section 4 of the Somaliland Constitution that grants the central government authority to manage the country’s Natural resources.
4. Somaliland Security and general Conduct law #51/2001
In addition to the legal and constitutional authority granted him president Silanyo added that the set up of the OPU is also in pursuit of facilitating the fulfillment of his government’s plans and determination to improve the country’s economic growth through utilization of abundant and yet unexplored natural resources as well as related security and protection. –Unquote
Though initial Announcement of intent by the government of Somaliland to form the OPU had raised some eyebrows within international circles with claims that it was geared towards destabilizing the region which the government rubbshed thence issue is now a foregone conclusion and the unit a reality