The Prime Minister (PM) of Somalia, Hamza Abdi Barre, inaugurated the operation of the TUBSAN National Center for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism earlier today. The Center will focus on countering the ideology of extremist groups, particularly al-Shabaab, in Somalia. Government ministers, Members of Parliament, international ambassadors, and other dignitaries attended the inauguration event. It took place in the Decale Hotel within the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu.
During the inauguration ceremony, PM Hamza emphasised the ongoing weakening of al-Shabaab’s power in various aspects, including finance, ideology, and military operations by the Somali National Army (SNA) and its allies.
TUBSAN’s primary focus should be preventing and countering the ideology. The government hopes that many Somali youth, previously misguided by extremist ideologies, will return to their communities and reject the terrorists’ indoctrination methods. The Prime Minister called upon the Somali youth who have been misled by terrorism to take advantage of the amnesty opportunities and reintegrate into society.
Moreover, PM Hamza urged the TUBSAN’s leadership to guide the returning Somali youth towards moral principles of peace and patriotism. By instilling these values, the aim is to prevent the future resurgence of extremist ideologies among the vulnerable population.
Three-pillar approach to countering al-Shabaab
The TUBSAN initiative is part of the three-pillar approach that Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of Somalia, outlined in August to counter the al-Shabaab threat comprehensively. The three pillars include addressing extreme ideologies (TUBSAN’s role), disrupting the extremists’ financial networks, and utilising the nation’s armed forces to combat the extremists militarily.
During his lengthy stay in Dhuusamareeb, Hassan Sheikh asserted that the absence of a comprehensive policy had hindered previous efforts against al-Shabaab. He underscored the vital necessity of a multifaceted approach that goes beyond military operations. “We have recognised that a purely military offensive is insufficient to achieve victory over the group,” Hassan Sheikh stated in August.
An earlier analysis of the Somali Digest explored whether the establishment of TUBSAN doesn’t also bring the right opportunity to reexamine the use of ‘Khawarij’ or ‘Kharijite’ that government officials often use to describe al-Shabaab. The analysis argued that the term is historic, largely obsolete, and inappropriate. It recommended using more precise and explicit terms, regardless of how al-Shabaab may attempt to co-opt them.
The analysis explains why using more appropriate and historically accurate terms can help TUBSAN and other actors to effectively develop and implement counter-messaging campaigns without engaging in an unnecessary theological debate.