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Somalia Hosts East Africa Security Summit.

Somalia Somalia Hosts East Africa Security Summit.
THU, 02 FEB 2023 LISTEN

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA: Regional head of states vowed to vehemently and fully support Somalia with its war against the Islamist insurgents who waged vicious and ruthless insurgency against the government for over 15 years.

The security summit alias Somalia-Frontline states was convened by Somalia's president Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to demonstrate and carry out the pledges he has made during his re-election on May,2022, which was to vanquish and deracinate the insurgent groups who wreak havoc to the country and sabotaged its economic development.

The leaders of Frontline states that shared a boundary with Somalia have been invited to attend, the leaders of Djibouti, Ethopia, Kenya and Somalia meet on Wednesday in Somalia's capital Mogadishu to deliberate and discuss the raging offensives against Alshabab extremist insurgents, the security summit took place amid an onslaughts jointly conducted by Somalia and its allies against the Islamist insurgents.

Somalia for the past year alone less than eight months the Somali National armed forces has achieved significant military gains and victories against the group and conquered and liberated large swathe of territories in South-Central Somalia these territories have been the under domination of Alshabab for over a decade.

The insurgents has also intensified their callous and brutal attacks in Somalia, the latest episode was the attack they launched on the mayor's office on 22, January 2023 where Alshabab insurgents stormed and briefly overrun the Headquarter of Benadir regional authorities,

the onslaughts had started series of explosions detonated by suicide bombers who wore a suicide vests and soon followed by intense gunbattle and assailants managed to got through the building and carried out multiple shooting spree, among the dead was a prominent blind humanitarian staff who was also the chairman of Somalia's disability association.

Somalia's security forces soon engaged a direct combat with the assailants and during the military confrontation a number of employees could be seen leaping from high-rise buildings in order to save their lives the security forces have managed to end five-hours long siege and took the control of the mayor's HQs and all Alshabab assailants were killed as Somalia's police force spokesman Sadik Dodishe verified in his press briefing at the mayor's office.

Security summit hosted by Somalia's president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud Alasow has coincided with mortar attacks launched by Alshabab and at least four mortar shells struck close to the presidential palace in Mogadishu On Wednesday ahead of a meeting of head of states and government from the region, there were no fatalities reported in the mortar attacks so far which Alshabab claimed the responsibility.

The Frontline states summit went ahead with Kenyan President William Ruto, Djibouti president Omar Guelleh, Prime minister of Ethopia Abiy Ahmed Ali and the host, Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Mogadishu the capital city has been imposed on complete lock down and all major roads and intersections were blocked and the security in and around the capital was very tightened also the domestic and international flights have been suspended for a period of two days.

Earlier, Somalia's information minister, Daud Aweis, told local and foreign journalists in Mogadishu that the leaders would discuss efforts by Somali army and its clan militia allies to ensure peace in the region,

he further elaborated by saying the discussion here in Mogadishu will focus more on the operations of the Somali national army in close collaboration with their fellow citizens with the aim of achieving lasting and durable peace in the Horn of Africa. And assuring that state of security in Somalia does not only end in Somalia but also extends to neighbouring countries as well as a wider region.

Kenya, Djibouti and Ethopia contribute troops to the African union transitional mission in Somalia, also know as ATMIS, However, Horn of Africa security analysts say Today's summit explores more enhanced and strategic engagement among Somalia's neighbours.

A Joint and unified communique from the meeting noted that the regional countries had agreed to mobilize financial resources to support the ongoing military operations in Somalia.

Mahad Wasuge, the founder and executive director of Somali Public agenda which is a local Think-tank and research institute has said such meeting is pivotal for Somalia as it is a critical juncture and a crossroad from protracted conflicts to a peaceful and sustainable country which was wracked by internecine conflicts and also shows solidarity among the neighbouring countries

Matt Bryden the founder of Sahan Research, security and policy research group focusing on the Horn of Africa has applauded and said the meeting of the "Frontline states in Mogadishu today, and the head of states is really crucial and positive step in advancing and strengthening the fight against Alshabab independently on wider peace and security issues, such as the role of ATMIS, and security cooperation, economic collaboration between these neighbouring states" he said.

Bryden said the engagement among the regional states is long overdue, noting the regional bloc IGAD has previously called on member states to deal with Alshabab insurgents as a regional security threat.

Bryden said although Alshabab is centered and stronghold in Somalia, it has carried out a brutal and deadly incursions throughout the region, especially Kenya, notably Westgate Mall, Hotel Dusit 2, Garissa University and also made multiple incursions into Ethopia and Djibouti

" So this a security challenges about Somalia and adversely had an impact to its neighbours not simply cooperating on the conventional or counterinsurgency battle against Alshabab inside Somalia, it is about investigating, identifying and disrupting Alshabab networks of Sponsors, financiers, facilitators, sympathizers and active supporters across the entire region" he said.

Following the conclusion of the Summit, the leaders of four states said they have unanimously concurred in their conclave to establish a joint coordination mechanism and jointly plan, orchestrate and carry out decisive operational strategy against Islamist insurgents, the leaders also overwhelmingly endorsed the Somalia's request to lift the longstanding arms embargo by the end of 2023. The arms embargo has been imposed by the security council in 1992..

UN Security council has set in December, 2024 as the exit date for the African union forces from Somalia at the same time the mandate of ATMIS come to an end and then the security responsibility of the entire country will be assumed by Somali national armed forces, However, that milestone has been termed overly ambitious in light of inadequate preparation, lack of highly sophisticated weapons and the maximum number of Somali troops required before ATMIS exit which is 24,000 and the current strength of the debilitating Alshabab.

The news comes as a report published by the Mogadishu-based Think-tank. Heritage institute for policy studies (HIPS) cast doubt the government will meet its December 2024 Deadline to have 24,000 troops ready to assume security responsibilities when troops from African transitional mission in Somalia (ATMIS) are scheduled to vacate.

" The timeframe is ambitious because the Somali security apparatus are unlikely to be fully autonomous by then, nor it is likely that Alshabab will have been militarily vanquished" the report said.

" The timeline and the fact the army is in a state of war, while at the same time they are being recruited, trained, reformed and modernized..... we argue it is very tight Deadline " said Afyare Elmi an associate Professor and executive director of HIPS and report's co-author." It will be a complex and challenging to meet" the report noted that in November, the Somali government asked ATMIS to delay the first drawdown of 2,000 soldiers by six months, from December 2022 to June 30,2023.

On the other hand Somalia also hosted more than 300 prominent Muslim clerics from overseas and regions of the country. The Somali Religious scholars were invited by the president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud Alasow and the conference was also launched by the president as he delivered impassionate speech imploring the clerics to set aside their dissension

The Somali religious clerics have fully endorsed and declared their support for the government offensives against the extremist groups. Eminent scholars from US, Canada as well Europe attended the conference.

The clerics issued their declaration following four-day conference of Muslim scholars that ended in Mogadishu on Thursday, with the formation of Supreme council, it was the first time in years that Somali clerics from all sects of Islam came together to decry terrorism even the conservative Wahabi sect, which has been accused of sympathizing with Alshabab had fully participated.

The meeting is a part of the government's triple offensives against Alshabab which includes military and financial operations in addition to countering extremist ideology and propaganda.

The Prime minister Hamza Abdi Barre closed the conference by urging or exhorting Islamic scholars to redouble their role by delivering religious sermons and said Alshabab relies on twisting Islamic teachings to drive and propagate their wicked ideology, So clerics can effectively counter and rid off that sinister narrative by drawing the line between truth and falsehood, the Prime Minister also added.

The Prime minister also added that clerics coming together denouncing Alshabab's ideology, the deviants narrative is not based on true religion of Islam and the conference could contribute a lot to the ideological warfare against Alshabab the Prime Minister asserted rigorously.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
MOHAMED HUSSEIN MENTALIST. Author, blogger, prominent researcher, Horn of Africa Affairs analyst and senior lecturer at Mogadishu and Somali national Universities.

Author: Holds BA in English language and literature at Mogadishu University and BA in Business administration at Simad University. Master of Arts in applied linguistics at Kisii University in Nairobi as well as Master of peace and conflict studies at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Mohamed Hussein Mentalist
Mohamed Hussein Mentalist

East Africa correspondent of ModernGhana. Page: MohamedHusseinMentalist

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