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The Importance of Trained Dogs for Crime Prevention in Somalia.
by Ibrahim Hussein
Sunday March 26, 2023

bomb-sniffing dog - A police officer with an explosives-sniffing dog provide security before the Buffalo Bills NFL game against the Houston Texans at Ralph Wilson Stadium in December 2015. Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Prevention and solving crimes requires a variety of resources, including trained personnel, equipment and importantly, constant discipline. This is also a top priority for current president Hassan Sheik’s government. Though government have employed a variety of strategies of war against crime. However, it seems that the resources to combat organised crime are excluded the role of one unique, friendly and important animal.

Before going into the subject in the discussion, as an author, I would like to make clear that this article is not intended to promote un-cultural issues to Somali community, and it is also not meant to write something out of nothing or for fun.  But my aim is to draw the attention of the authority to the importance of trained sniffing Explosive Detection Dogs (EDD) used in crime prevention as a resource and methods to contribute enhancement to ongoing efforts of public safety.

From twenty century to date, the majority of modern law enforcement in the world use trained dogs, although naturally, opinions differ as to the most suitable type of dog for the job is debated. Nevertheless, the K-9 dogs are known to assist police and other law enforcement officers in their duties, including searching drugs, explosives, locating missing people, and crime scene evidence. Unfortunately, the Somalia Police Force had not understood the value of trained dogs in preventing and solving crimes. The question that needs to be answered is...what part and role a trained dog will play in the present situation of Somalia crime prevention efforts? Having trained dogs and qualified handlers at all main check points, barricades and on government premises will reduce or rather prevent any possible penetration of explosives.

Through sniffing, dogs are more accurate than humans at locating substances. This is a proven evidence-based science and its effective way of preventing crimes related to ordnance and chemical substances.  Since every country in the world uses sniffing K-9 dogs, I don’t see any single reason why Somalia Police Force are not using them. Considering the current situation in Somalia, specifically the capital city, which requires strict and tough security screening all the time for checking ordinance materials for which only K-9 dogs can achieve accurate performance. Therefore, since its use has added value to safety, the Somalia Police Force should come up with ways and initiatives to use trained sniffing dogs.

In this article, the author is not discussing everything about all types of dogs. Because some dogs are known for being uncooperative, disobedient, and naturally lazy, others are rambunctious, playful, and energetic. However, there are some special dogs who play hard-working roles in finding explosive devices and human remains, like the German shepherd, Boerboel, Basenji  and Sloughi breeds, are observed to be on top of their jobs as they always contribute to the many police and military operations that require their assistance.

We have to know that dogs have a more sensitive nose than humans do, so with their sense of smell a lot stronger than human, they are able to sniff out and discover hidden  a human remains and explosives that even a trained special forces can't detect.

Working with a trained police dog, the discipline is the most important, but when it’s compassionate enforcement of fair rules and a clear, consistent structure that gives expectations and consequences. The same rule and technique works for humans. Surprisingly, dogs follow instructions sometimes faster than humans. Again, when it comes to loyalty, humans can betray many times over and they might not even noticed. Because humans have the capacity to lie, deceive, and manipulate to get something their own way or any other personal interest. In contrast to humans, dogs are constitutionally incapable of doing all this. With the advancement of today’s science and research, these days, many studies are suggesting that dogs never betray their friends, handlers, or owners. With that reputation, the dogs have earned the title of “Man’s best Friend”.

The use of explosives detection dogs at airports in the Muslim world is widespread, including in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bahrain, Pakistan and Indonesia. These days, Somalia also comes on board for the use of sniffing dogs in Aden Abdulle International Airport, and many other facilities. According to AMISOM, an article published in their Web domain, Somalia Police Force has only few qualified dog handlers.[1]  A part from security use, some Arabian Muslim countries have taken the use of dogs to different levels to a culture of dog sports racing competition. Because of their speed, the Saluki dogs are used for sports racing that continues today, and it’s held during heritage festivals and other sports club events in Abu Dhabi.[2]

Dogs have been part of the Somali ancient culture for the use of hunting and guarding farms and livestock, in particular goats and cows. However, the culture has declined, and lately, few rich or civilised people used to have dogs as a watchdog in their compounds from the 80’s to the present day. Moreover, these days, the majority of Somalis associate dogs with every negative thing and potential that dogs are considered harmful and something to be fearful of, which is why they avoid them completely, but in reality, that is not more than fear of the unknown and taboo. It’s very unfortunate that we forget that dogs are part of Allah’s creation, and we should treat them well and not be afraid of them and benefit their potentiality.

The Islamic religious opinions on how to keep, handle and use dogs and their impurity are very clear in the religious script. However, it seems that Somali people have taken into extreme aversion. To what can be considered more Somali cultural identity than religion. Having a dog seems like a Western thing and it’s associated with a culture that was brought to Somalis by white colonialists when they arrived in Somalia.

The among the uses of keeping dogs in today’s world include the challenging jobs for security personnel such as tracking criminals, drugs, and explosives such as bombs and to locate victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami and building collapse in the situation of sudden structural failure. Therefore, it justifies their need to use during lifesaving operations.

In regards to Islamic Sharia for the use of dogs, it is permissible to keep a dog for three purposes; (1) hunting, (2) protecting one’s livestock and (3) guarding farmland.[3] Therefore, considering their use is related to propose work which is similar to what is permitting religion and the current necessity of crime prevention in Somalia, the Islamic jurist would agree it is used and handled for a clearly defined purpose. What is more, given the chance use of K-9 dogs in Somalia police operations. Without doubt it will contribute to police operations to achieve the highest performance in crime prevention activities, which can be translated to lifesaving.

About the Author.
Ibrahim Hussein
Email: [email protected]
Ibrahim is a Humanitarian worker working in Horn and East Africa, Human Right Activist and autodidact forensic investigations and passionate solving crimes.


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