News / Africa

    Somali Forces Seek Out Terrorists Hiding in Shadows

    Somali Forces Seek Out Terrorists Hiding in Shadowsi
    X
    Gabe Joselow
    May 05, 2014 6:52 PM
    Somalia's special forces may be one of the few success stories in the country's feeble armed services, working overtime to nab suspected terrorists. But as VOA's Gabe Joselow reports, the national military still has a lot of work to do to ensure the future security of the country.
    Gabe Joselow
    Somalia's special forces may be one of the few success stories in the country's feeble armed services, working overtime to nab suspected terrorists. But the national military still has a lot of work to do to ensure the future security of the country.

    It's time for morning prayers in Mogadishu and security forces are just wrapping up a night-time raid.

    Somali special forces have rounded up 10 suspected members of the al-Qaida linked militant group al-Shabab. The group is accused of assassinating government officials in the city.

    Colonel Farah Ali said the suspects were targeted based on inside information.

    “We are not looking for just anyone, we are looking for al-Shabab. We have intelligence from people on the ground about them. We are not harassing any other people except al-Shabab and al-Qaida,” he said.

    Soldiers from the AMISOM peacekeeping mission work hand-in-hand with Somali military and police to bring security to violence-wracked Mogadishu.

    Former militants also help, by locating and confirming the identities of the suspects, according to an AMISOM officer who declined to be named.

    “Screening is going to take place later on, then using the very guys, the defectors and those guys we captured, those are the ones to come and assist us in identifying this is so-and-so and this is so-and-so,” he said.

    Somali military officials say they have carried out about 50 of these raids in the past three months. Intelligence being one of the most effective tools against an elusive enemy.

    But elsewhere, Somali forces are struggling.

    Al-Shabab has been on the losing end of AMISOM's military operations during the past few years, but Somali forces have struggled to maintain control over territory reclaimed from the militants.

    A lack of equipment and resources as well as reports of corruption and the diversion of weapons have all added to the military's woes.

    The head of Somali Armed Forces, Brigadier General Dahir Adan Elmi, said the military still hoped to take full control of security from AMISOM in the next two years.

    “We are planning to take over in 2016. We will have at least 30,000 [soldiers] in an official and built army that can take over the security of this country and we are working so hard, so hard actually to reach that goal,” he said.

    One of the challenges is trying to restructure the army in the midst of ongoing operations.

    After serving on the front-lines, these Somali soldiers are only now receiving basic weapons training. Here, under the watch of European Union trainers, they are learning to assemble PKM machine guns.

    But building a unified force was still difficult in such a troubled nation, said the head of the EU training mission, Colonel Jesus Gonzalez

    "This generation grew up during the war, so it's not easy for them and the challenges are there. They have a background of working for a clan, for a militia, but don't have this spirit of unity, of country, yet," he said.

    The biggest challenge yet for these soldiers may be in overcoming old clan divisions and learning to fight for one Somalia.

    The very future of the country depends on it.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora