By Fadumo Abdi Ali
Thursday August 31, 2023
SOMALI YOUTHS’ PRIMARY PRIORITY:
Throughout history, young
people have played crucial roles in shaping transformative movements, from the
rise of Islam to the struggle for Somalia’s independence. Somali youths,
inspired by a deep sense of national identity and a longing for freedom,
actively participated in resistance against colonial powers during the early
days of the struggle for independence. Despite limited resources and
experience, their resilience and determination were instrumental in achieving sovereignty
and shaping Somali history.
In a contemporary world where
young people face evolving challenges, Somali youths have emerged as resilient and indomitable champions in the fight
against terrorism. They are actively involved in changing the mindset towards Somalia's
stature, to reflect the progressive strides the country has taken over the past
decade and a half. Overwhelming majority of the young generation are
peace-loving and development-minded who are playing pivotal roles, both in the
private and public sector, including in military, financial, and ideological
battles against terrorism, particularly in the offensive against Al-Shabaab
THE MILITARY FRONT: SOMALI
NATIONAL ARMY AND THE BATTLEFIELD
Under the leadership of youthful
commanders, the Somali National Army (SNA) has taken a proactive role in the
military battle against terrorism. By joining the ranks of the SNA and earning
the trust and support of their leadership, these gallant soldiers have been
effective in the quest to uproot and flash out terrorists from their hideouts.
Thousands of young people who
recently graduated from high schools and universities have answered the call
from their fellow citizens and leadership to defend their country against
terrorists. Within a year, the National Army has demonstrated exceptional heroism
and resilience in combat, earning respect both domestically and
internationally. Their deep understanding of the local terrain, ownership coupled
with a strong sense of patriotism have led to the successful re-liberation of large
swathe of land, included strategic territories from AS terrorists.
In addition to security
operations, SNA also works diligently to maintain stability in newly liberated
areas, to ensure citizens safety and security, as well as providing healthcare,
relief, and assistance to local communities. By carrying the national vision
and engaging in face-to-face interactions with locals, SNA counters extremist
narratives and instead inspires hope through awareness. Such engagements foster
dialogue, encourage critical thinking, and challenge the recruitment tactics
used by extremist elements. Many members of terrorist groups continue to
surrender to the armed forces and choose the path of peace and redemption.
THE ROLE OF GOVERNANCE
The role of civil servants in
the fight against terrorism and liberation operations is of paramount
importance for the stability and security of the nation. From law enforcement
to policy formulation and implementation, directors-generals, policymakers, and
officers, all consistently contribute to the development and implementation of
counterterrorism strategies. They ensure effective measures are in place to
combat terrorist strategies, including post -AS stabilization and developmental
programs in the liberated regions.
Cognizant of the criticality
of disrupting the financial networks of terrorist organizations, well-educated youthful
officers have taken the lead in the country's governance institutions. They
actively engage in countering terrorist financing, working tirelessly to
disrupt the root causes and stifle financial lifelines of terrorist groups.
This commitment and dedication contribute to the government's security agenda
of fighting terror groups on multiple fronts and improved collaboration and
coordination among various agencies and departments involved in
Moreover, it is not just the Somali
security forces and civil servants who are championing the war against
terrorism. Young entrepreneurs are also disrupting the cycle of poverty, which
often fuels extremism, by establishing businesses, creating job opportunities
and fostering economic growth.
THE IDEOLOGICAL BATTLE:
PROMOTING ISLAM AND COUNTERING EXTREMIST PROPAGANDA
Drawing inspiration from the
transformative power of youth in shaping the history of Islam, Somali youth are
reenergized in the ideological campaign against radicalism. They counter
extremist narratives and tirelessly work to reshape Somalia's perception.
Through media, community engagements, and social activism, they promote unity,
tolerance, and the values of peace and Islam.
Their dedication, creativity,
and commitment to promoting peace and tolerance contribute to building a more
resilient society that rejects violence and embraces a positive vision for the
Somali youths amplify
alternative narratives that challenge extremist sentiments through blogs,
social & mainstream media campaigns, and townhall meetings. Through
creation and utilization of online spaces for government officials, civil
society, religious scholars, youthful activists share counter-narratives and
provide positive perspectives about ongoing liberation efforts and the deplorable
living conditions under extremist control.
In the education sector, youngsters
actively engage in mentorship programs to guide and support vulnerable
individuals who may be susceptible to extremist manipulations, such as those living
in IDP camps. Youthful educationists work closely with schools and universities
to provide educational opportunities by equipping young people with knowledge,
critical thinking skills, and positivity to resist violence and extremist ideas,
enabling them to make informed choices.
In a nutshell, Somali youth
have emerged as critical resource in the fight against terrorism and as agents
of positive change. Through their active leadership in the military,
governance, financial, in the private sector, and ideological battles, they
have proven to be pivotal stakeholders in shaping the future of Somalia. Their
unwavering spirit and commitments inspire not only their fellow citizens but
also the government leadership and future generations of Somalia.
The commitment of Dan Qaran
Government and the exceptional valor of the Somali National Army in freeing
Somalia from terrorism require continued ownership from the Somali community, and
the concerted efforts of the youthful generation who constitute 75% of the
population. By nurturing and investing more in the potential of Somali youths,
Somalia can ensure a brighter future for the nation, their continued contribution
to nation building, peace and stability as well as their triumph over terrorism.