News / Africa

    Experts Call for Comprehensive Approach Against Al-Shabab

    FILE - A Somali soldier stands guard next to the site where Al-Shabab militants carried out a suicide attack against a military intelligence base in Mogadishu, June 21, 2015.
    FILE - A Somali soldier stands guard next to the site where Al-Shabab militants carried out a suicide attack against a military intelligence base in Mogadishu, June 21, 2015.

    In recent days, al-Shabab fighters killed individuals accused of collaborating with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in the town of Marka after the international force withdrew.

    Al-Shabab posted pictures of the body of at least person labelled “collaborator” riddled with bullets. In September last year a local elder was abducted by al-Shabab in Awdhegle shortly after AMISOM and government troops pulled out. He has not been seen again. In June the same year when al-Shabab took over Leego, the town’s chairman was apprehended and beheaded by militants.

    Sunil Suri, of the London-based NGO Saferworld, said the current approach to fighting al-Shabab has not benefited ordinary civilians.

    “A military approach is meant to provide security, but then security for who? When we think about the withdrawal of Marka a collaborator gets killed, that is not security for that person who helped AMISOM and the government structure of that town,” he said.

    Suri said the AU mission has not been effective in terms of ensuring the Somali peoples’ security needs are met. Instead, he argues, international security concerns are often prioritized.

    Lower Shabelle, Shabelle and Bay regions of Somalia
    Lower Shabelle, Shabelle and Bay regions of Somalia

    The former Governor of Lower Shabelle Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur lamented the withdrawal of AMISOM and government troops from towns in his region.

    “We move into town only to withdraw when people start to come out of their shell,” Nur said.

    Suri warns that al-Shabab won’t be defeated by a militarized approach led by AMISOM and the Somali national Army.

    The International Crisis Group this week said the reason for al-Shabab’s recent success is that the militant group “has not been defeated politically and socially” in parts of Somalia.

    ICG says the military offensive against al-Shabab can only achieve progress “within durable political settlements.”

    “The paramount focus should be on addressing local Somali political grievances, not on regional or international priorities. Tapping into the grievances of local communities is what enables al-Shabaab to remain and rebuild in Somalia,” ICG said.

    Suri says the AU mission needs to reinforce people’s security first.

    “AMISOM should have a clear and explicit mandate from the United Nations Security Council to protect or provide immediate security to civilians in areas taken from al-Shabab,” he said.

    Leaders of AMISOM and military chiefs of troop contributing countries this week met in Nairobi, to discuss the situation on the ground. The Head of the AU Mission Ambassador Francisco Madeira defended AMISOM’s strategy and achievements.

    “The most significant indication yet that our efforts have borne tangible results is the decision made by the Federal Government of Somalia on the electoral model to be used in the coming elections later this year,” Madeira said.

    Madeira indicated he understands, that despite the terrorism challenges posed by al-Shabab, the AU mission also needs to win the support of the locals to succeed.

    “Robust military action must go hand in hand with an equally robust, inclusive and effective political reconciliation process to win the hearts and minds of the population,” he said.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora