The Somali Al-Shabaab movement, which is linked to al-Qaeda, faces two choices, namely to continue fighting against the Somali security forces and army or to submit to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s calls for an amnesty in return for laying down arms and joining society.
Providing care for dissidents
President Mohamud called on the elements affiliated with Al-Shabaab to take advantage of the general presidential amnesty to renounce violence, extremism and terrorism in the country, stressing that the state will strive to provide the necessary care for dissidents and create job opportunities for them.
According to the Somali National News Agency (SONNA), the military operations carried out by the Somali army against the elements of Al-Shabaab led to the killing of more than 200 militants, and the movement lost control of nearly 50 areas that had been subject to it in the south and center of the country.
President Mohamud said during his visit to a camp belonging to the Somali army in the Shabelle region that the government intends to limit the spread of weapons in the capital, Mogadishu, adding that security checks will be increased on the population, as well as convoys of members of the federal government.
According to SONNA, the Somali army forces, in cooperation with local forces, succeeded in regaining control of the strategic city of Gilad in the Galgudud region in the state of Galmudug in the center of the country.
Despite the decline in attacks carried out by Al-Shabaab, this security campaign could dissipate if it is not accompanied by concrete steps from the government to consolidate its results on the ground, according to observers.
The Somali government is working to establish rehabilitation centers for defectors from Al-Shabaab and to re-engage them in Somali society again.
These centers are in line with Mohamud’s policy, as they achieve military victories on the ground against the elements and leaders of the movement, as well as benefit from the surrender of numerous members who defect from the movement and lay down their arms, in addition to their rehabilitation into society again.
Dissident rehabilitation centers are located in Mogadishu, Baidoa and Kismayo. They include more than 450 dissidents from Al-Shabaab and ISIS who live under heavy guard.
The rehabilitation centers are affiliated with the Somali Ministry of Internal Security, are run by the International Organization for Migration, and receive funding from Britain and Germany.
Abul Fadl El-Esnawi, a researcher in political affairs at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, said that al-Shabaab has become weak and meager as a result of the military operation carried out by the Somali forces throughout the country.
Esnawi confirmed in an exclusive statement to the Reference that Al-Shabaab recently witnessed the loss of a large number of militants and the sites it controlled, which led to its weakness as it is more powerfully confronted by the state.
Esnawi added that the Somali state must continue the military confrontation in parallel with the continuation of development processes, and the movement must submit to the state of course correction, surrender, and engage within Somali society.
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