The Minister of Interior and National Security of Somalia, H.E. Abdikarim Hussein Guled today condemned the extremist militia Al Shabaab’s announcement banning internet services in the areas of Somalia they control and called on telecommunications groups to resist any coercion.
“The Somali Government strongly condemns such acts which show continued brutality and terrorist tactics of intimidation by trying to ban Somalis from using the internet,” the Minister said. “Our constitution guarantees freedom of expression and every citizen has the right to access information without fear.”
“Al Shabaab has lost control of the major cities of Somalia and are now trying to terrorize people and stop them using the internet. Our message to them is that there can be no safe place in our country from which to launch terrorist and criminal activities. This will only strengthen our resolve to fight them.”
“Somalis, like people everywhere, use the internet for education and reaching out to the global community to get world news. We will not allow our citizens to be deprived of internet access and smartphones.”
“The Somali Government will work with all telecommunications companies and ensure that they are free to provide internet and other related communications services to our citizens. While the government provides all the necessary assistance to protect the public, we also caution them not to cooperate and work with terrorist groups or bow to threats. We have a responsibility to protect our citizens against all threats.”
“Somali media outlets also have a responsibility not to carry propaganda from terrorist groups. We want our media groups to behave responsibly and assist our people as it is our citizens’ right to obtain information freely without fear.”
“Al-Shabaab’s strategy is to silence our people and to commit extortion against communications companies so they can gain desperately needed financial resources. The Somali government will intensify the war against terrorist organizations and it is a matter of time before we completely eliminate the threat posed by Al-Shabaab.”