President Mohamed Abdullahi has extended an olive branch to adherents of the militant group Al-Shabaab noting their deeds against the Somali people cannot match the resolve of over ten million Somalis.
In a strong indication of his government’s will to deal with violent extremism, President Farmaajo expressed his determination to deter more youths from being recruited into militant groups and warned those who are involved in Al-Shabaab activities to defect and join in the nation building process.
Speaking during his inauguration ceremony at the air force hangar inside Aden Adde Airport, the president also pledged to build a strong army and ensure they are duly remunerated and provided with all the necessary support to ensure the peace and stability prevails.
“We will create job opportunities for our young people so that they are not lured into extremist groups. I will focus on building the capacity of our security forces including providing all the necessary logistics, salaries and fully equipped barracks,” said Farmaajo.
“We are telling the young people that if they come back (from extremist groups) we will give them what they need and help them. Those who are allied to al-Qaeda and ISIS, we are telling them time is over,” the president said.
Al-Shabaab killed about 900 people last year and they killed about 40 others this week but they cannot match the will and power of 12 million Somalis, said President Farmaajo. A car bomb explosion Sunday killed about 40 people in Medina area.
He also reiterated his commitment to working with the African Union force Amisom in restoring peace in Somalia while also paying tribute for their work over the years. “We have to remember these brothers and sisters from Amisom who have sacrificed their precious lives for the restoration of Somalia,” the President observed.
Meanwhile the African Union affirmed its commitment to closer relations with Somalia and the new president in restoring security in the country. African Union special envoy and head of Amisom Francisco Madeira said the AU will continue its efforts in pacifying the country alongside Somali security forces. He praised the forces for their work in safeguarding the electoral process which went on peacefully without any major incidents.
Madeira noted Farmaajo’s efforts during his short stint as Prime Minister in 2010 pushed away Al-Shabaab from Mogadishu adding a closer collaboration is even more critical in securing the rest of the country.
“The African Union is with you, Mr. President and will remain by your side as you confront the challenges afflicting your people,” said Madeira.
The event was attended by among others Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta, his Djibouti counterpart Ismael Omar Guelle, Ethiopian PM Mariam Desalegn and members of the international community led by UN chief in Somalia Michael Keating. Representatives from 124 countries also attended the event.