According to the always helpful Somaliland247, the government of Somaliland has received a grant from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to train 300 police recruits in the town of Mandil on conflict resolution and human rights . This training, if successful, would make Somaliland’s police among the leaders in Africa in being able to handle conflict successfully and respect human rights. Witness, after all, the shambolic performance of Egypt’s police force, or that of Algeria or Tunisia, in dealing with their own internal difficulties.
The fact that the United Nations is specifically targeting an area of Somaliland (in the Sahil region, which is the province that contains Somaliland’s chief port, Berbera,), ought to signify the growing importance of Somaliland’s police infrastructure to the region as a whole, a surprising and somewhat recent development (possibly related to Somaliland’s role as the host of new pirate prisons ). This particular program is part of an effort by the United Kingdom to train those Somaliland leaders who will be responsible for training other leaders, which has already begun in Ethiopia and will continue over the next two years.
Of particular interest is the fact that the police training will include instruction in such matters as community policing and forensics. From what it appears, the goal is to give Somaliland an up-to-date and responsive and well-trained police force to help improve its infrastructure as a law-abiding and democratic nation. Of course, when this will translate into meaningful international recognition of this status remains unclear as of yet. Nonetheless, it would appear that Somaliland is working on developing its infrastructure and its reputation within the international community as an oasis of stability and democracy within the region even further, a positive development that its citizens no doubt appreciate greatly. The timing of this information may be related to the general crisis of the police forces within North Africa and the Middle East as a result of rising popular pressure against the corrupt dictatorships of the region, a concern that may have prompted international investment in the infrastructure of the nation of Somaliland. Whatever the cause, it is a welcome development.