Somaliland247's Blog

March 16, 2010

Somaliland: Protecting Foreign Workers

Filed under: NEWS — somaliland247 @ 8:17 pm

HARGEISA,16 March 2010 After reading a hastily written “article” entitled, “Somaliland: Dream job turns into a nightmare” published on the so-called The Star Online, few unanswered questions linger. If Somaliland is as lawless as the article portrayed it, why thousands of foreign workers are there? Did the author of the article in question fail to distinguish Somaliland from Somalia?

Yes indeed. The Star Online article states, “The lure of a high-paying job took telecommunications consultant Hor Chee Fei to Somalia, one of the world’s most dangerous places.” Is that so?

Perhaps, the telecom consultant encountered the same scams that people come across in China, U.S., Europe and elsewhere. And Somaliland is not immune to scams.

But few things don’t add up: why the telecom consultant failed to name the CEO or the telecom firm that allegedly chased the worker all the way to Hargeisa’s airport runway? Nor did he provide the contacts of the firm. Something smells rotten.

The worker not only failed to provide the names of the people who have turned his dream job into a nightmare, but he also failed to go to the nearest police station and report the alleged crime.

The Star Online article states, “Hor and five other Malaysians managed to avoid detection by blending in with a crowd of Chinese tourists.”

Well the question is: if there are foreign tourists in Somaliland, then it could not be a lawless country.

Also, what the worker perhaps is not telling you is: that his team members either disputed the contract or they could not deliver the services they promised. Now because things didn’t go as rosy as planned, labeling Somaliland as a lawless land is one way of avenging for their misfortune. Every story has two versions, doesn’t it?

The least the telecom consultant could have done was contact the hundreds of other Malaysians workers in Hargiesa and seek help. In fact, other firms such as, Chinese construction companies have signed contracts with Somaliland government to rebuild Hargeisa’s airport and roads, and currently there hundreds of Chinese as well as Malaysians working in Somaliland. Some even have opened dentist clinics. Read more:

More important, why the airport security forces remained oblivious of the telecom worker chased around by the telecom firm’s owner inside the airport? Is this logical at all? Hargeisa’s airport has one of the most secured systems I have ever come across. The authority is so paranoid that nothing evades its eyes. Yet the telecom worker claims some gangs chased him inside the runway.

Unprofessional articles written by news outlets which break the ethics of good journalism are unfortunately what many people who seek jobs in Somaliland read. It is these articles that would reshape their perception towards Somaliland and influence their decisions to take their skills to there.

If there is no such system in place already, upon their arrivals all foreign nationals should receive the contacts of the security forces, immigration, human rights groups, and Foreign Minister of Somaliland, as well as U.N. agencies. Additionally, it is the government’s responsibility to monitor the well-being of International workers and take all the appropriate actions to protect them.

Dalmar Kaahin


1 Comment »

  1. Allowed me to answer the unanswered that is linger around.

    Hundred of thousand of foreign workers working in Somaliland does not necessary equate to “rule by law”. There are thousand of foreigners working in Mogadishu as well, does that mean there are laws there? Let just put it in a simpler term, in Somaliland, if you can kill a person and get away by paying “camels”, i dont think that is rule by law according to the standard of most modern world.

    Beside, when you said there are many foreign workers in Somaliland, arent they mostly work for either NGO or UN who is trying to establish some kind of law and order in Somalilan? Isnt that an indication of lack of law?

    Regarding you question on why there is no name mentioned in the paper, well, the consultant has provide the name of the company and person that is responsible for his nightmare, but the newspaper could not just publish those name cause this might create legal implication to the paper. In Malaysia, there are law to regulate such thing.

    About lodging a police report.. are u suggesting that a “nobody foreigners” should goes against the richest company in somaliland? you want these group of “god-know-who foreigners” to fight against the man who is so powerful that he can just call the president of the country anytime of the day at his direct line? in country where law and punishment is something decided by the clan’s leaders? Well, this group of foreign consultant may be stupid to believe that the contract they signed is enforceable, but they are not retarded, yet!

    You also mentioned about Chinese construction company building road there, i think you are either trying to mislead or too naive to compare agreement/contract signed between 2 countries, as oppose to contract signed between a small foreign company with richest company in Somalilan! And where are those “hundred of Malaysians” working in Hargesia you mentioned? I will bet 10 to 1, at any amount you like, if you can find more than 20 Malaysians working in Hargesia!

    Regarding the airport, these group of consultants were not at the Hargesia airport but berbera airport instead. The guy who came to “hunt” for them were the branch manager of the telco from berbera. He was there with another man in the “boarding area”, the area where only passenger with boarding pass are allowed! (I am very sure that branch manager did not have any boarding pass!!) He was walking all over to look for one of the consultant. and there is an eye witness to substantiate my claims, a local somalian guy, if you need it.

    Later, after they were transported by the bus from boarding area to the runway and get ready for boarding, that branch manager was there standing beside his Toyota 4WD next to the airplane!! Imagine at the airport, next to the runway, a non relevant person can just get in there freely, if this is not an example of lawless, i dont know what it is!

    Please dont tell me the authority at your airport is paranoid that nothing escape their eyes, i have photo of unauthorized personnel wondering near airport runway in Hargesia airport if you need it.

    I hope the above answered you doubts.

    Comment by Party involved — March 17, 2010 @ 9:30 am | Reply

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