The President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, delivered a speech yesterday at the Villa Somalia Mosque following the Friday prayer, in which he discussed the ongoing war against the extremist group al-Shabaab. Addressing the congregation, President Mohamud expressed his deep concern over the suffering of the Palestinian people, drawing parallels to the challenges the Somali people face at the hands of al-Shabaab.
President Hassan emphasized that the responsibility to address the al-Shabaab problem lies with the Somali people themselves, as the militants originate from within the country. He stressed the importance of resolving the issue peacefully, urging the militants to renounce their ideology and reintegrate into their communities. However, he acknowledged that despite repeated calls, al-Shabaab has not responded to these appeals. The President expressed hope that they would eventually accept the government’s outreach but emphasized that the fight against the group would continue until then.
The President strongly criticized the extremist actions of al-Shabaab, referring to them as Khawarij, a deviant group within Islam. He expressed his determination to lead the government in putting an end to the activities of this group. Despite facing challenges, he reassured the audience in the mosque that the government is engaged in a war against extremism and that even in the face of setbacks, it does not signify defeat. President Hassan highlighted that the path to victory is full of obstacles and twists, but the government will achieving success.
The President of Somalia acknowledged the presence of extremism in the world but pointed out that the lack of effective governance in Somalia has allowed al-Shabaab to thrive. Furthermore, the President stressed the importance of rebuilding a strong and stable government to counter the influence of extremist groups.
In conclusion, President Mohamud’s speech conveyed an unwavering commitment to combatting al-Shabaab and expressed optimism for the future. He emphasized the need for international support and highlighted the government’s determination to achieve victory in the ongoing struggle against extremism.
The challenges the government has faced, including the withdrawal of troops from certain locations after the al-Shabaab raid in Oswein on 26 August, and the need to generate troops for replacing the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forward operating bases (FOBs) while continuing operations to liberate areas under al-Shabaab’s control, remain significant hurdles that the government will need to address.