Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of Somalia today officially launched the National Strategy and Action Plan for Preventing & Countering Violent Extremism for Somalia.The Prime Minister of Somalia HE Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, the Deputy PM HE Mohamed Omar Arte, the President of Puntland, HE Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, Police Commissioner and other senior officials were present during the official launch event in Mogadishu. Somali President praised the Tubta Toosan Initiative’s successful conclusion of the inclusive process that developed the strategy through an inclusive engagement of the community.
Hon Mustafa Duhulow, CVE Coordinator for Somalia speaking at the event said “I am glad that the process that we begun through Tubta Toosan Initiative over 10 months ago, have successfully reached to this stage that we are officially launching the comprehensive national strategy and action plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism. This document is the result of a rigorous, inclusive process of dialogue and discussion with all the key stakeholders over the last 10 months. For the first time in Somalia we have a strategy that went through an inclusive process to engaging with communities. We even carried out an online public consultation in order to reach out to all citizens including those in the Diaspora. “
HE Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarisow) said “We now have a strategy that is fit for purpose and locally owned. It provides a holistic, “whole of society” framework for addressing domestic and international security threats including terrorism. It focuses on countering the ideology and narratives of extremist groups that promote destruction and violence by using all the tools necessary in our cultural context. For example, Somalia is a Muslim country; we want to ensure all religious programs are attuned to the peacefulness of Islam while showing Al-Shabaab’s actions are all against the practices of Islam.”
The National Strategy will also advance the National Defector Programme for former combatants encompassing both low- and high-level defectors. Another area that the strategy will focus on is the on-going reconciliation efforts addressing the root causes for citizens joining terrorist groups. Since Somali society is clan based, Al-Shabaab take advantage of existing grievances within communities (such as marginalized groups, neglected rural areas,). Reconciliation can help communities bolster local resilience against Al- Shaabab and at the same time reinforce Somali traditions, values and cultures.
Hon Mustafa Duhulow said “I am very grateful for the commitment and the leadership of our President, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and our Prime Minister, H.E. Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, for their consistent support during the development of the National Strategy and their ongoing commitment to support it during the subsequent implementation stage. I cannot thank the co-author of this strategy, H.E. Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarisow) enough for his tireless effort, dedication and commitment during the process. I would also like to thank H.E. Michele Cervone d’Urso, the EU Ambassador to Somalia and Blueprint Somalia Project for the support provided to us during the process to devise the comprehensive strategy.”
Hon Duhulow concluded his remarks “In Somalia we have made important gains in disrupting the activities of al-Shabaab militarily with the support of our African Union brothers (AMISOM), displacing the terrorists from most of the regions in South & Central of Somalia. But, while military power is necessary, it is not sufficient on its own to create lasting peace in Somalia. The National Strategy offers a multi-pronged approach that aims to win the hearts and minds of the people so that we will ultimately have a vibrant and inclusive society that can contribute to bringing peace and stability in Somalia.”
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