The AU Special Representative for Somalia Ambassador Madeira Francisco has reiterated the urgent need to de-radicalise youths in Somalia and protect them from victimisation by Al Shabaab terrorists.
Speaking during a recent media engagement session in Mogadishu, Ambassador Madeira observed that though extensive progress has been made against Al Shabaab, more needs to be done to curtail its ability to spread terror.
“We are going to concentrate on de-radicalisation. We are going to sensitise the youths that they are being misled by these murderers; that joining these people is not a good idea and that these people stand for evil,” he said.
Ambassador Madeira said the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will try its best to provide education, shelter and food to the youth to prevent them from being recruited by Al Shabaab.
He also spoke about the on-going efforts, undertaken together with the international community to bar supply of arms to terrorists and also cut their sources of funding.
Last February, the heads of state from Troop Contributing Countries, meeting in Djibouti, urged the international community to cut financial links and punish financiers of Al Shabaab wherever they are.
“We are working with the international community, to reduce the number of weapons that come, for instance, from Yemen into Somalia,” he added.
Last March, in separate incidents, French and Australian navies, operating under Combined Maritime Forces, seized Somali-bound ships carrying large amounts of weapons believed to consignments for Al Shabaab.
The weapons were seized under United Nations Security Council mandated arms embargo to prevent illegal weapons reaching the terrorist group.
Ambassador Madeira said AMISOM with the help of its development partners will continue helping Somalia strengthen its government institutions to restore and maintain the rule of law.
He further expressed optimism that the war against Al Shabaab will be won by sheer will and resilience of the Somali people, evident in the on-going initiative to stabilize and reconstruct the country.
“Am very happy because the people of Somalia who I have met in Kismayo, Barawe, Garowe, Belet Weyne, Mogadishu and many other places are committed to fighting Al Shabaab,” Ambassador Madeira observed.
He reiterated the commitment of AMISOM to facilitate the restoration of security and stability in Somalia by empowering the government institutions to take over governance in the whole country.
“Our effort is to make sure that the government of Somalia, with its institutions, is in a position to be present throughout the country. Our effort aims at allowing the population to be able to do agriculture, commerce and also transport their products to the markets,” the AU Special Representative for Somalia added.
He noted that AMISOM troops were busy securing the main supply routes to enable free movement of goods and services.
Despite the massive challenges and shortage of resources, the AU Special Representative for Somalia, asserted that AMISOM will continue undeterred in the fight against terrorism. He appealed to the international community for more resources, among them force enablers and multipliers.