Somalia’s government requested religious groups for the first time to participate in the fight against the terrorist organization Al-Shabab.
Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire conveyed the call during a special meeting with religious scholars to discuss the role of their faithful in preventing the radicalization of these militias, which are currently increasing their attacks against the government.
The meeting also shared information about the country’s security situation and the specific role of each religious group in the war against Al-Shabab, explained Sheikh Ali Wajis, one of the Islamic scholars consulted by the Executive.
‘We had an important meeting with the Prime Minister, who explained the work carried out by the government. We gave him some suggestions and we agreed to work together,’ admitted Wajis.
Al Shabab – a phrase meaning ‘the youth’ in Arabic- emerged in 2006 as a radical wing of the defunct Council of Islamic Courts. It joined Al Qaeda in 2012 and now struggles to overthrow the government to impose a caliphate based on Islamic law (Sharia).
This organization controls territories of the centre and south of Somalia, from where it attacks civil and governmental installations that extend also towards Kenya, in retaliation because Nairobi’s army has been fighting its militias in Somali territory since 2011.
The African Union mission in the country supports the government against these militias, through a force of 22,000 soldiers from the seven member states: Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sierra Leone.