Ma’awisley was asked to take the lead in the fight against al-Shabaab. In response to recent challenges of the Somali National Army (SNA) and the withdrawal of its forces from previously liberated areas, the Government of Somalia is charting a new course in its battle against the militant group al-Shabaab. The shift in strategy significantly emphasises local Ma’awisley militias as the primary force to confront and liberate regions under al-Shabaab’s control.
Mogadishu, SOMALIA. By Dalmar:
Majorly attributed to the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the decision to rely more heavily on the Ma’awisley originates from the President’s concerns about the SNA’s low morale and ability to effectively combat al-Shabaab. Under the revised strategy, the SNA will assume only a supporting role.
On 3 September, Hassan Sheikh embarked on a critical mission to seek support from the Hawadle community in Mahaas, Hiran State. This move was prompted by the recent withdrawal of SNA forces from Galgaduud and delays in the Phase I liberation operations. After extensive negotiations, the Hawadle community agreed to join the fight against al-Shabaab. Ali Jeyte, President of the unrecognised Hiran State, will lead the Ma’awisley of Hiran in this endeavour.
President Hassan Sheikh assured the Hawadle community that the SNA would not interfere in Ma’awisley operations and pledged full support to Ali Jeyte in case he needed anything during the operation.
Local ownership of the fight on al-Shabaab
Subsequently, the President visited Adan Yabal, where he stressed the importance of local communities in the fight against al-Shabaab. He urged local clans to recruit youth and enlist them as Ma’awisley fighters. These newly formed units will work to liberate their regions from al-Shabaab’s control.
Reliable sources have revealed to the Somali Digest that once the clans provide youths for the fight, the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) will register them and provide a monthly stipend. After successfully completing operations, these troops will integrate into the liberated areas as police officers.
“Unless I die”
In an interview with SNTV, Abdiyo from Mahaas expressed her determination to participate in the liberation effort. She cited al-Shabaab’s brutal acts, including the killing of 30 people and the destruction of vehicles, as her motivation.
The elderly woman, who has a history of participating in conflicts in the Hiran region, is ready to assist other clans in liberating their areas still under al-Shabaab’s control. She declared, “We have liberated our land from the Khawarij [a derogative term often used when referring to al-Shabaab], but they [al-Shabaab] still control the Murusade land. The President came to us and asked us to liberate the remaining areas. Unless I die, there will be no Khawarij remaining.”