Information Minister: “Somali people demonstrated a conclusive rejection of violence and intimidation by extremists.”

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Mohamed Abdi Hayir (Mareye), the Minister of Information, Culture & Tourism tsent his best wishes to the Somali people and to fellow Muslims around the world at the time of Eid al-Fitr.

HE the Minister commented: “During the Holy Month of Ramadan the Somali people demonstrated hope, resilience, charitable acts for the poor and a conclusive rejection of violence and intimidation by extremists.”

HE Mohamed Abdi Hayir (Mareye), the Minister of Information spoke in detail on the Holy Month of Ramadan in the capital, Mogadishu: “During the period of Ramadan there were considerably fewer attacks in Mogadishu than in 2014, with many attacks being foiled by security forces and many other attacks being ineffective. But that is not to ignore the fact that al-Shabaab did, on a few occasions, succeed in their unholy aim of bringing death and destruction to the capital during the Holy Month. We must recognize that the threat has not yet disappeared, it has only decreased, and that we all, the government, the security forces and the people, must remain vigilant at all times.”

HE Mohamed Abdi Hayir (Mareye), the Minister of Information continued: “I would highlight two aspects of the Holy Month that particularly stood out to me: the first is the manner in which people supported each other by providing food aid and assistance to those in need. Ramadan is a month of solidarity, helping each other, and the lost sense of generosity has been revived. I saw numerous Somalis behaving with compassion towards others as they assisted much needier people, showing compassion to that person. Our friends and partners from Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Djibouti, Turkey, UAE and others also distributed food aid to the regions of Somalia. The support from our friends and allies gives us hope, determination and a sense of togetherness. I hope that they will continue their generosity to the needy people after Ramadan and beyond.

“The other aspect is the resilience of the people. I think of the director of the Banadiir Regional Administration neighborhood Watch programme, Abdulhakim Mohammed Hadi, after his car was destroyed by a bomb meant for him. He got a lift to work the following day and was back at his desk as if nothing had happened. I also think of my colleague, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources His Excellency Mohamed Omar Aymoy, caught up in the attack on the Weheliye Hotel: he grabbed a weapon and joined the fight against the attackers. In difficult times, we have consistently proved that we have the resolve to overcome the terrorist threat.”

HE Mareye, the Minister of Information commented on events outside the capital: “Al-Shabaab’s attempts to obstruct progress extended into the other parts of the country and across the borders into the territory of our neighbours. I take this opportunity to thank the contribution made by our African brothers and donor countries who serve as part of AMISOM. Some of them have made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of protecting freedom in Somalia and we salute that sacrifice. We also send our condolences to our neighbour, Kenya, who have also felt the pain of terrorist attacks during the Holy Month of Ramadan, and we continue to work closely with them to find ways to limit the destructive ambitions of al-Shabaab.”

HE the Minister of Information commented on the reality behind al-Shabaab’s apparent strategy: “My ministry, in close consultation with the security institutions and forces and with other ministries, has analysed the events of the last month: intelligence, media reports, and statistics. Al-Shabaab’s attacks in Mogadishu failed to even dent the resolve of the people. Its attacks outside the capital have accelerated planned joint operations between the Somali National Forces and AMISOM to clear the remaining pockets of al-Shabaab resistance in the countryside. Al-Shabaab time is going to be a history, now they are acting without an aim, without leadership. They tried to attack everything – and have achieved nothing.”

HE the Minister of Information concluded: “The Federal Government of Somalia with the support of AMISOM will increase security operations with a view to recapture on all the areas that they are hiding and planning all their violence and destruction attacks to civilians in order to eliminate all threats posed by terrorists.”

“I conclude, though, by focusing on a positive. Other than the bravery and the resilience of both the security forces and the people in the face of grave danger, I have been most inspired by a campaign that is being fought on a different battleground: on social media. Throughout Ramadan, at first scattered amongst exaggerated reports of Al-Shabaab atrocities, then in equal numbers and then finally drowning out the hysterical negativity, I noticed numerous messages of happiness, of hope and of peace. Most striking to me was a series of images posted throughout the Holy Month on Twitter by @MogadishuImages: people on the beach or dancing, beautiful buildings, shops full of Iftar foodstuffs, stunning sunsets, men at work, children in school. It is easy to forget the beauty of our country and our people but, during this period of contemplation, these images remind us of what our struggle is about: the future.”

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