March 28, 2023

Somalia is working intently to revive peace in its northern breakaway area of Somaliland amid heightening tensions between the area’s authorities and native clan forces, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud advised Al Jazeera.

“We imagine that unity is the one resolution… however we do not need this unity by way of violence, which makes issues worse,” President Mohamud advised Al Jazeera on Monday.

Violence erupted after leaders of the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn provinces of Somaliland – which claimed independence from Somalia in 1991 – introduced their intention to rejoin Somalia.

Combating broke out final month across the city of Lascanood in Sool, killing not less than 80 folks and displacing greater than 185,000, based on the UN.

“We have been advocating for the final couple of weeks on how we will first cease the violence after which open an area for dialogue,” Mohamud stated in a wide-ranging interview through which he talked in regards to the state’s struggle towards the al-Shabab armed teams, a sweeping drought within the nation and gender violence.

‘All-out battle’ towards al-Shabab

In August final yr, just a few months after being re-elected for a second time, President Mohamud declared an “all-out battle” towards al-Shabab, which has been waging an insurgency towards the federal government since 2007.

“So many individuals have tried to cease this by way of peaceable means. Now the Somali authorities has determined to unravel this by way of an all-out battle,” he stated.

“There is not any different possibility aside from to take this terrorist group to a degree the place it can not threaten the soundness of the nation,” Mohamud stated, including that the last word purpose was to create the fitting atmosphere for political inclusion, and entice overseas funding as nicely. as Somalis to return to the nation.

With help from the US military, African Union (AU) forces and native help, Somalia’s military was capable of regain swaths of territory from the armed group since launching its offensive final yr.

In January this yr, government-led forces recaptured the port city of Harardherean al-Shabab stronghold on the Indian Ocean, marking one of the vital important victories of the offensive.

Al-Shabab responded with a lot of assaults within the capital and different cities, together with focusing on the mayor’s workplace in Mogadishu and an assault on a army base,

African union peacekeepers provide security during the Somali presidential elections, in Mogadishu, Somalia.  May 15, 2022. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
AU peacekeepers present safety throughout Somali presidential elections in Mogadishu [File: Feisal Omar/Reuters]

“The AU has completed an excellent job… they usually have been the rationale why the Somali state began to develop and [why] It has now reached a degree that it has supplied house for society to develop,” Mohamud stated.

“However now it’s the Somali military, police and intelligence businesses [that] are operating the operations with the help of AU and different worldwide companions.

“Challenges will stay in place,” stated the president, referring to when AU forces go away subsequent yr. “However we’re organizing… on one hand we’re combating and, on the opposite, we’re constructing the safety sector.”

looming famine

The specter of famine in Somalia has been current because the nation went by way of 5 consecutive failed wet seasons. It now faces a sixth.

In an evaluation final December, the UN estimated that eight million folks had been badly meals insecure and that greater than 700,000 may undergo famine between April and June this yr if help provides usually are not elevated.

Nonetheless, in its newest report in late February, UN specialists stated that whereas meals insecurity stays “extraordinarily vital”, they had been not projecting famine.

“We averted a famine,” stated Mohamud. “There is no such thing as a famine proper now and there’s no threat of famine within the quick time period, but it surely’s looming.”

Local weather specialists and humanitarian staff have warned that developments in latest weeks, together with expectations of below-normal rainfall, are worse than these in 2011 when 1 / 4 of 1,000,000 folks died in Somalia because of famine.

There are additionally considerations amongst human-rights organizations that knowledge to evaluate the extent of famine is just not correct as a result of state of safety in sure areas.

0-year-old Hibo carries water in a jerrycan to her temporary house at Kaharey IDP camp in Dollow, Somalia.
In a report in late February, UN specialists stated meals insecurity stays ‘extraordinarily vital’ however they had been not projecting famine [File: Reuters]

Violence towards girls

President Mohamud additionally acknowledged the problem of gender violence by Somali forces.

In 2021, two UN stories denounced what they described as an “alarming” 80 % improve in sexual violence in Somalia in contrast with 2019, largely carried out by al-Shabab fighters.

However the stories additionally highlighted how sexual violence – for not less than 15 % of verified instances – was attributed to authorities safety forces.

,[Among the] Unhealthy traits of the battle is that it reduces the power of the state establishments, particularly when these establishments had been weak even earlier than the battle. We aren’t denying that we’ve got that downside, and we’re going after it.

“We constructed our judiciary system, we engaged our safety forces and people who have dedicated such crimes are instantly taken to the courtroom.”

Nonetheless, the president acknowledged, “there are some limitations” to the justice system.

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