The Somali federal government doubled its efforts in the war against al-Shabab by bringing into the fold neighboring regions. Regional security is key and vital for facilitating trade and growth in the region hence why the federal government this week has invited Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti into Mogadishu to further discuss the offensive against al-Shabab. The meeting is attended by top military officials from Somalia and from countries in the Horn of Africa, Defense ministers and also state leaders. Given the insecurity that looms in Somalia’s capital, major roads in and out of the airport have been closed for operational use. This has received some backlash from the Somali populous though some would argue that this is justified to receive high officials from the neighboring countries who would not come otherwise.
Somalia’s current administration has been marked by amongst other objectives including state building and the conclusion of the provisional constitution, the fight against the insurgent groups that is al-Shabab and Dacish. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud since the 2022 election in may declared an all-out war against Al-shabab. Since then, several attacks have been carried out by the group including the Hayat Hotel attack and Sobe attack amongst others however definitive progress has been made by the federal government which has ousted the group from traditionally held territories of 15 years including in the Galmudug state where cities under the control of the group have been liberated. Additionally, since the start of this year, over 300 Al-Shabab Militants have been killed across Somalia showcasing effectiveness and vital progress from the federal government. Moreover, the federal government has directed the closure of over 200 bank accounts and 70 mobile phone firms that have aided the terrorist group.
The president also warned Al-Shabab members that they are engaged in a futile war with only one end, its demise, and advised them to defect before it is too late. To this end, His Excellency provided an amnesty window to any members of the terrorist group to defect promising a haven as an incentive for mass defections. The amnesty window proved effective this Saturday the 29th of January 2022 when a key member of the group, Adan Isaq Hassan has been involved in the group’s terrorist activities in the southwest state of Somalia for the last few years. In addition to Military war, the president cognizant of the ideological hold the group has over the rural areas, and in some of the populous also declared an ideological war by banning amongst other moves the covering of the group’s activities by the media in a positive light.
A major development in the ideological war against the terrorist group was witnessed recently when the federal government hosted a religious scholars meeting of Somali religious leaders within and outside of the country. Among the topics discussed were how to combat the financing of the terrorist group, combatting the provision of refugees to these militants by the Somali populous, and lastly, ways to inhibit persons from seeking justice in the “courts” of these terrorists. Particularly, Dr. Osman Maalim Mohamud from Saudi Arabia stated that the religious scholars vehemently declared that the group has deviated from the true teachings and has perverted an entire religion hence are enemies of the religion along with other groups alike including ISIS. As a result, it is recorded that more than 300 Muslim clerics declared their support for the government’s ongoing offensive against al-Shabab, a remarkable feat that signals the Somali business sector’s commitment to halt the aid of this terrorist group financially.
Additionally, the Somali populous and other persons would do well to recognize and admit that Somalia is indeed in an ongoing war against a terrorist group that poses an existential threat hence the need for measures such as this.
Lastly, the success and progress of the current administration against the terrorist group are commendable and signals effectiveness from the federal government, a feat not seen in the previous administration. Captures by the federal government in port cities like Haradhere which was a vital revenue source for al-Shabab are key for state building and have thus far represented the biggest win for the Somali National Army. However, even a greater challenge for the federal government will be the ability of the federal government to overturn recent history, turn the tables and hold on to these territories for the foreseeable future and beyond. This meeting will therefore aid in the revamping of soldiers and sustain the offensive against al-Shabab through a collaborative effort with countries that are also on the receiving end of terrorism from the group with Kenya and Ethiopia being direct victims. It is therefore evident the need for a collaborative effort to rid this group entirely not only of Somalia but of the entire region of the Horn of Africa to usher in a period of peace and stability that is much needed.