Security Part II: Supporting the Transition Plan and National Security Architecture
Deputy Prime Minister, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for the opportunity to address you today and to outline the imperative need to invest in the Transition Plan and National Security Architecture in Somalia. First of all, let me thank the Federal Government of Somalia, the European Union and the Government of Sweden for hosting this very important Somali Partnership Forum.
I would also like to thank UK’s leadership on Somalia, in particular for hosting the famous London Conference in May 2017, which made possible the Security Pact Agreement, National Security Architecture and the Comprehensive Approach to Security which made it possible for the current progress in security.
As you are all aware, Mogadishu was once one of the most progressive and peaceful cities in Africa and a destination of choice for tourists from around the globe. As Mayor & Governor my vision is to reclaim the peace and the stability once enjoyed by its citizens, by seizing opportunities to overcome all the unique challenges – such as: hosting over half a million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), poverty, unemployment for youth and security.
Suffice it to say, terrorists mainly target the capital city in attempts to destabilize the central government, showcase that they are still relevant and to grab headlines creating a negative narrative. Despite of all the challenges, the city has made notable improvements and the gradual re-emergence of a city whose resilience is unparalleled. Somalis have always been strong minded but even under the constant threat of VBIED’s, IEDs, mortars and Al Shabaab hit-man doing targeted assassinations, the people of Mogadishu still go about their lives, shopping, socializing, going to work or school on a daily basis, going about their business and as evidenced in the traffic jams that hold you up in your visits to see us.
All these unique challenges that Mogadishu residents face, can only be resolved by providing an environment that is conducive to improving security, so that our residents can further enhance their potential for entrepreneurship and access to opportunities. As we have seen time and time again – our communities, whether small or larger businesses, rebuild their properties immediately after a terrorist attack. This level of resilience and perseverance is the norm in Mogadishu and I am constantly inspired and left in awe. Nevertheless, we urgently need to build momentum and to work together so that the people do not become disorientated and desensitized – to do this we must work diligently and cohesively from all districts comprising the regional territory of Benadir. I again reiterate and applaud the resilience of Mogadishu’s residents and I pledge to redouble our efforts to improve the security in the city to enable them to live without fear of attack.
Benadir Regional Administration prioritizes the security and stabilization of the city. We implemented a working partnership with the security apparatus of the Federal Government and have learned lessons from previous stabilization programs. We have engaged with communities at district and neighborhood level to strengthen our security strategy, and have also implemented a neighborhood watch scheme that is working very well – assisting security forces as oversight civilian components and sharing vital information. As a result of our persistence, commitment and determination we have seen significant improvement in security during my tenure and we hope that the Somali Partnership Forum will welcome the recent deployment of a Mogadishu Stabilization Force, which has brought steady improvement to security in Mogadishu, including the most peaceful Ramadan in 10 years. I commend the Mogadishu Stabilization Force’s swift action, their effectiveness and their bravery to security incidents in Mogadishu, such as the last two on the Ministry of Interior on 07 July 2018 and the one on 14 July 2018 near Peace Garden.
Benadir Regional Administration is working with the Federal Government to counter the threat of IEDs as part of the development of a National Counter IED Strategy. This focuses not only on detection, but on tackling the chain of events that allows IEDs to be manufactured, transported, planted and detonated in Mogadishu and across the country. Mogadishu Stabilization Force will play a key role in the disruption of these networks by manning the checkpoints entering the city and responding to the discovery of any devices.
We recognize that it will take a comprehensive approach to tackle the root causes of why people choose to support Al Shabaab and to build human security in Mogadishu. That is why we are implementing Benadir Regional Countering Violent Extremism to reach out to communities through civic engagement activities, while tackling poverty, unemployment, education and access to basic services. And we are working hard to do this in parallel to hard security initiatives.
Lastly, I would like to emphasize the significance of the transition plan in Mogadishu. In May, here in Brussels, the National Security Adviser outlined the symbolic importance of returning the stadium in Mogadishu for use as a sporting venue for the people of Mogadishu as a symbol to whole country that Somalia is rebuilding. In this project we have a huge opportunity to demonstrate not only that the country is emerging into normalcy, but the unifying power of sport to bring people together. It is all the more powerful given Al Shabaab’s ban on football. This is why we intend to hold a football tournament in the Stadium in December this year. In Mogadishu we have implemented a number of sports projects throughout districts in the city and holding sports events at night time to show the progress of security. Last Friday I attended a game of girls playing football at Karan district.
But none of this will be possible without resources. We have done a detailed breakdown of the resources required to return the Stadium to civilian use and to renovate it. I would like to thank the government of Norway for supporting us to make necessary repairs at the stadium such as implementing solar system lighting, cleaning the stadium, building roads leading to the stadium, etc. We can share the proposals with interested donors including the resources that the Federal Government is allocating. We urge you to invest in this project and in Mogadishu, in the hope that the traffic will only get worse as more and more of Mogadishu’s citizens embrace the freedom and bustle that comes with security.