Mogadishu, 28 March 2018 - Somalia is taking concrete steps to develop a more inclusive National Action Plan, aimed at preventing and countering violent extremism in the Horn of Africa country.
The new plan, will factor in the views and needs of all stakeholders, including the Federal Member States, to enable the implementation of a comprehensive strategy, that will tackle violent extremism in a more decisive manner.
A two-day conference convened by the Office of the Prime Minister, to review the existing strategy concluded in the capital Mogadishu yesterday, with calls for the involvement of key sectors, in the development of the new national action plan.
“The only way we can combat extremism is to listen to different perspectives particularly the religious leaders and address this problem from a Somali perspective,” Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled told participants during the opening session of the review meeting, in Mogadishu.
Religious leaders play a critical role in dialoguing, opinion shaping and controlling violent extremism in Somalia, thus the emphasis on their active participation in the review exercise, expected to culminate in the implementation of a national strategy on Prevention and Counter Violent Extremism (PCVE), as provided for in the country’s Comprehensive Approach to Security (CAS), Strand 4.
Considered key in Somalia’s stabilization, the Comprehensive Approach to Security, which falls under the National Security Architecture, is part of a security pact agreed to by Somalia’s leaders in 2017
“Countering violent extremism through military means should be the last resort. There should be an active awareness campaign on ideology and to cut the source of funding and revenue to activities that support violent extremism,” stated the Deputy Prime Minister.
The Mogadishu Mayor called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to end violent extremism in the country. “We are at the final phase of developing an inclusive National Plan with Federal Member States and this requires an efficient implementation. I commend the PCVE office for their successful mobilization of communities and leaders around this issue” he said.
“This is a collective problem that affects us on daily basis; bringing us constant fear and bombings. Whenever a suicide bombing occurs, a woman is either a mother to the dead or a husband to the victim,” added Ms. Abshir Ahmed Maalim, the deputy head of the Somali Women’s Association.
Ms. Adar Ali Mohamed, the Communications Director in the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development, added that women have a major role to play in countering violent extremism. “The victims of this scourge are mostly women since they are the mothers to the victims and the perpetrators. I believe women can play a bigger role to counter violent extremism as they can bring valuable information from the neighborhoods in which they live in and detect early signs of radicalization in their communities,” stressed Ms. Adar.
The National PCVE Coordinator Dr. Yahye Ali Ibrahim reiterated the importance of using religious leaders in efforts to end violent extremism, because of their immense influence on society. “The biggest responsibility lies on the shoulders of the Somali religious leaders and they are instrumental in the fight against extremist ideologies”, he remarked.
The Federal Government plans to roll out an ambitious sensitization campaign, with emphasis on tolerance and dialogue among all Somalis, once the review of the national action plan is complete.
“We want the Somali public to know their role; to prevent bloodshed of their fellow citizens, and we will achieve this with an agreed plan of action to deal with scourge as united and well informed communities,” Dr. Yahye said.
Ms. Mane Ahmed, the Gender Officer with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said the conference provided an opportunity for the AU mission to support the Prevention of Violence and Counter Extremism Office and other stakeholders, in ensuring that the National Action Plan adopts an inclusive approach, with clear indicators of monitoring local and federal initiatives. Incorporating a gender perspective in this important document will ensure the meaningful participation of women to the PCVE efforts.
AMISOM facilitated the workshop, whose participants included senior Federal Government officials, among them the Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled, Mayor and Governor of Banadir Regional Administration Mr. Abdirahman Omar Osman Yarisow, the Counter Violent Extremism Coordinator Hon. Mustafa Duhulow, the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Mr. Abdihakim Hassan, intellectuals, religious leaders, women and youth group and PCVE focal points from Federal Member States.