Somalia seeks to develop inclusive security plan to curb extremism

By Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

MOGADISHU, March 29 (Xinhua) — The Somali government has kicked off a series of meeting aimed at developing an inclusive National Action Plan to prevent and counter violent extremism in the Horn of Africa country.

A two-day conference to review the existing strategy ended in Mogadishu with calls for the involvement of key sectors, in the development of the new national action plan.

“The only way we can combat extremism is to listen to different perspectives, particularly the religious leaders and address this problem from a Somali perspective,” Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled said in a statement issued by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Thursday.

Guled said countering violent extremism through military means should be the last resort.

“There should be an active awareness campaign on ideology and to cut the source of funding and revenue to activities that support violent extremism,” he added.

The new plan will factor in the views and needs of all stakeholders, including the Federal Member States, to enable the implementation of a comprehensive strategy that will tackle violent extremism in a more decisive manner.

According to the government, religious leaders play a critical role in dialoguing, opinion shaping and controlling violent extremism in Somalia, thus the emphasis on their active participation in the review exercise, expected to culminate in the implementation of a national strategy on Prevention and Counter Violent Extremism (PCVE), as provided for in the country’s Comprehensive Approach to Security (CAS), Strand 4.

The Comprehensive Approach to Security, which falls under the National Security Architecture, is part of a security pact agreed to by Somalia’s leaders in 2017

Mane Ahmed, AMISOM’s Gender Officer, said the conference provided an opportunity for the AU mission to support the PCVE Office and other stakeholders, in ensuring that the Plan adopts an inclusive approach, with clear indicators of monitoring local and federal initiatives.

Incorporating a gender perspective in this important document will ensure the meaningful participation of women to the PCVE efforts, Ahmed added.

Yahye Ali Ibrahim, PCVE Coordinator, reiterated the importance of using religious leaders in efforts to end violent extremism, because of their immense influence on society.

“The biggest responsibility lies on the shoulders of the Somali religious leaders and they are instrumental in the fight against extremist ideologies,” Ibrahim added.

He said the government plans to roll out an ambitious sensitization campaign, with emphasis on tolerance and dialogue among all Somalis, once the review of the national action plan is complete.

“We want the Somali public to know their role; to prevent bloodshed of their fellow citizens, and we will achieve this with an agreed plan of action to deal with scourge as united and well informed communities,” Ahmed added.

Source: – Xinhua