Minnesota(Mogadishu24)-Former Prime Minister of Somalia, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas, addressed the ongoing fight against Al-Shabaab in an annual meeting for Somalis living in America held in Minnesota.

Mr. Gas revealed that this is the hardest time to fight against the militants than in the past 16 years.

“For the past 16 years, Al-Shabaab has been gaining control over a huge percentage of our territory. But let me tell you that Al-Shabaab is strong and they were getting stronger and more sophisticated by the day since their formation,” stated Abdiweli Gaas.

He cited that the militants have more financial power than the Federal Government of Somalia.

“Al-Shabaab is still controlling many areas and they collect more tax than the government; the Government collects taxes from Mogadishu alone, but the Al-Shabaab militants collect the taxes from any district they control.”

“So they gained military strength, more sophistication, and they make more money than the government,” he added.

The former Prime Minister stated that the militants have an appealing narrative that attracts the youth to join them.

He added that the government lacks a similar narrative to avoid the radicalization of the youth.

“Another big issue is that militants have an appealing narrative that attracted the youth to join them. Unfortunately, there is no counter-narrative that intends to stop the radicalization of the youth,” Mr. Gaas said.

The former Prime Minister’s statements came at a time when the Federal Government of Somalia intensified its war against Al-Shabaab fighters in the second phase of the war, the ‘Black Lion Operation,’ putting more focus on the Galmudug region.

Intelligence report says that Al-Shabaab’s annual revenue including taxation in which they extort civilians is $120 million  

The President of the Federal Government, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, is currently in Dhusamareb for an unspecified duration to scale up this operation and mobilize the local community against the Al-Shabaab militants.

Jubaland State Vice President Mohamed Sayid Adan previously expressed grave concerns about the withdrawal of AMISOM forces in Somalia, citing a lack of preparedness within the Somali Government and the potential risks to regional security.

The Vice President stated, “The withdrawal of AMISOM forces was premature and an ill-advised decision. We repeatedly voiced our concerns during discussions, urging the withdrawal to be halted. However, the AMISOM forces were determined to leave the country as planned.”

He further disclosed that neither the forces of Jubaland nor those of the federal government were adequately prepared to assume control over the vacated AMISOM bases.

“The Somali National Army and the State’s Forces are not prepared to take total control of the country’s security from AMISOM,” he said.

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