Federal and state leaders will seek to expedite the integration of security forces to build a strong unit to confront the militant group Al-Shabaab, President Mohamed Farmaajo has said.
Speaking Monday night during the opening of a conference bringing together leaders from all the regional, Farmaajo said the meeting will seek to forge a common front ahead of a major offensive against Al-Shabaab.
“The most important thing in this meeting is to integrate forces from the regional and federal government so that we can attack Al-Shabaab from all fronts,” said Farmaajo adding, “And I hope this will be finalized before the end of this meeting.”
The president said the leaders will also explore the role of religious leaders and the media to support the war against extremism in the country. “We have enough people but what we need is mobilization. I believe we can mobilize the public who are ready.”
The integration of security forces has remained elusive since the last administration which sought to build a unified national army based on a proportional contribution from the regional states. In the National Security Architecture (NSA) presented for funding during the London conference in May, the Government proposed the formation of a 22,000 strong military supported by 32,000 federal and state police. The states would contribute an average of 4,000 troops each.
However the funding of the Architecture which was supposed to commence this month did not happen as the donor’s conference was postponed to December this year. Donors had promised in May to make financial commitment to the NSA in October upon completion of remaining issues between the two levels of government.
President Farmaajo last week travelled to Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti to seek increased support for the offensive against Al-Shabaab which he blamed for the October 14 truck bombing. Al-Shabaab which did not claim responsibility for the attack was quick to take credit for Saturday’s attack at Nasa Hablood II hotel which killed 27 people and injured more than 30 others.
The conference will also address issues on federalism, constitutional review process, the 2020 elections and revenue sharing from natural resources.