The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), is training youths to partner with security institutions to deter crime and put a check on violent extremism in Somalia.
AMISOM Police working in collaboration with the Somali security forces, the Federal Government and the Federal Member States, is holding of a series of sensitization workshops and engagements across the country, to encourage such partnerships.
A two-day youth sensitization workshop seeking more youth involvement in community policing initiatives concluded in Mogadishu on Sunday, with a call to youths to work more closely with police officers to counter violent extremism.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the workshop, the Deputy AU Special Representative for Somalia, Mr. Simon Mulongo, challenged the youths to take the lead in countering violent extremism, which he noted had been exploited by terrorist groups to cause instability in the country.
“Anybody who uses dangerous means becomes an outcast, a wrong person in society and therefore the people of Somalia, like elsewhere, must reject violence, extremism as a means of managing society,” he said.
Referring to the youth as agents of change, the DSRCC urged them to beware of unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of their innocence to mislead them into extremism.
“As AMISOM we have come here to support the federal government and the people of Somalia through many ways, including (community) policing,” Mulongo remarked during the workshop, attended by senior Federal Government officials drawn from the Prevention and Counter Violent Extremism (PCVE) Unit.
Speaking at the same event, the Acting AMISOM Police Commissioner, Ms. Christine Alalo, appealed to the youth to share information with the local police in their communities. “We had similar sessions with the Somali Police, specifically on community policing, which we think is one of the approaches or tools that we can use to counter or prevent violence or crime in the community,” Ms. Alalo observed.
She urged the youth to help win the hearts and minds of their peers.
“If each of you can manage to convince two or more people to follow you, to listen to you and then the five others also do the same, I think we shall have a peaceful Mogadishu and a peaceful Somalia,” she stated.
The Deputy Coordinator of the PVCE Unit, Mr. Koshin Abdi Hashi, lauded AMISOM’s support in anti-radicalization and anti-violent extremism efforts. He expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to combating all forms of terrorism.
During the workshop, the youth participants were taken through a number of topics on the causes and effects of violent extremism.
“I have learnt that it is easier to prevent the youth from joining violent extremist groups, than trying to lure them back. This can be done through awareness campaigns in the media, sensitization by religious leaders and by keeping them engaged through sports,” said one of the participants, Guled Hassan Ali.