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.