Somalia is currently engaged in an offensive war with al-Shabaab. Somalia’s president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (HSM) elected in 2022, vowed to defeat the al-Shabab terrorist group after his election. Under the Administration of president HSM, the Federal Government of Somalia’s (FGS) security sector and community members known as Ma’awisley who uprose and took arms against al-Shabaab are involved in the offensive in some of the Federal Member States (FMSs supported by drone strikes by the United States. A significant number of towns and villages some of which were strategic towns for al-Shabaab were liberated, and are still ongoing. Considering these gains, SGEM conducted a Somalia Tweet Chat forum on Security Development Nexus: Prospective for Stability, Peace & Sustainable Development on November 27, 2022.
SGEM invited diverse Panelists to assess the situation from different angles. Panelists included Faisal Roble, Principal City Planner and CEO for Justice and Equity Los Angeles city, Hodan Hassan, Executive Director of Kulan Consulting, Osman Moallim, Chairman of Somali Non-State Actors (SONSA), Ismail Osman, Former Deputy Director of National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA), Subeida Mukhtar, Engagement Lead for Somali Dialogue Platform, and Ilham Gassar, Political and Reconciliation Specialist.
The panelists shared their views on what this liberation war means for Somalia and the Somali people, the role that the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATIMS) is playing in this new offensive, and whether they are fulfilling their mandate. They further discussed the role of the Federal Member States (FMSs) in the current offensive, and the type of support they need to stabilize communities. Panelists further analyzed who is responsible to make sure security is maintained in the newly liberated areas, and how can we make sure the government controls the areas going forward. The key elements needed to form functional local governments in the newly liberated areas were elaborated. They also highlighted the stabilization and development efforts that are needed in the liberated areas and the soon-to-be liberated areas, and ways both the Somali government, and development actors can connect with local communities to understand their current needs. Panelists also discussed some of the local historical grievances emerging between groups as they are liberated, and what can be done to support reconciliation and healing between the various communities. This Somalia Tweet Chat session concluded with some recommendations to the Somali government to make the current offensive to be successful, and key strategies and viable plans that the government should be considering.