Somali president outlines strategy to defeat Al-Shabab

Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – In an op-ed published in Kenya’s Daily Nation Newspaper, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud addressed the ongoing fight against terrorism in his country, specifically against the al-Qaeda-affiliated group Al-Shabab. 

Mohamud stated that terrorism is a complex and ever-evolving challenge and emphasized the importance of renewed international partnership and a commitment to rooting out terrorism to defeat groups like Al-Shabab.

“This is a new era of depravity on the part of terrorists like Al-Shabab, and we can only defeat them with renewed joint international partnership and a firm commitment to rooting them out of our societies,” Mohamud wrote.

Mohamud also addressed two dangerous perceptions about Al-Shabab that he believes can undermine the fight against the group. “Al-Shabab is neither Somali nor Muslim. They are a dangerous globally organized criminal terrorist group, nothing more,” he said. 

He added that the group has global sympathizers and supporters who share their distorted view of Islam. He emphasized that while Somalia is on the front lines of the fight against terrorism, the war against terror is international in nature.

To defeat Al-Shabab, Mohamud explained that Somalia is taking a new approach that focuses on both security efforts and targeting the group’s illicit financing and false ideology. He stated that this holistic approach is already starting to disable and dismantle the group’s operations, giving hope to the Somali people that the group’s “misery and madness will soon be history.”

Mohamud also emphasized the importance of international partnerships in the fight against terrorism, expressing gratitude for the support of Somalia’s partners. “International partnerships are crucial to the fight against global terrorism,” he said.

“We are grateful to Somalia’s partners in this fight for the future peace and stability of not just Somalia but the Horn of Africa, the wider African continent, and the world.”

In his op-ed, Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud also discussed the recent military successes against Al-Shabab in the country, which he attributed to a grassroots community-led uprising against the group’s “criminality and cruelty.” 

He added that many of the group’s senior members have either been killed, surrendered, or are on the run and that the terrorists are now on the defensive, seeking to escape the efforts of Somali security forces and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

Mohamud also spoke out against the group’s heinous crimes, including murder, extortion, forced marriages, poisoning of drinking wells, and kidnapping. 

“The brave and resilient Somali people have said enough to their murdering, extortion, forced marriages, poisoning of drinking wells, and kidnapping, to name but a few heinous crimes,” he wrote.

In terms of the new approach to defeat Al-Shabab, Mohamud explained that it involves connecting security efforts with a new assault on the group’s illicit financing and false ideology. 

He stated that this holistic approach is already starting to disable and dismantle the group’s operations and give hope to the Somali people.

Mohamud also addressed the previous containment and degrading policy employed in the fight against Al-Shabab, stating that while it was useful for immediate short-term objectives, it could never lead to a comprehensive defeat of terrorism. 

He emphasized the importance of building on the lessons learned from these policies in order to achieve a long-term solution to peace, security, progress, and prosperity.

In conclusion, Mohamud emphasized that defeating Al-Shabab and all other terrorist organizations is the only solution for long-term peace, security, progress, and prosperity for Somalia, the wider region, and the world. 

“Somalia is committed to defeating terrorism and working towards a future of peace, stability, and prosperity not just for the country but for the Horn of Africa and the wider African continent,” he said.