Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud arrived in Dhusamareeb, the administrative capital of Galmudug State, at the beginning of August and returned to Mogadishu at the start of October, which means he stayed there for over two months.

What changes did the President’s 60-day stay in Dhusamareb bring about?

Cowsweyne and Ceel-Lahelay may come to your mind instantly; these are indeed tragic moments that should be acknowledged. However, let’s first focus on the achievements that gained unanimous public support.

The President’s commitment

One of the primary objectives, if not the most crucial, was for the President to show the world his government’s unwavering commitment in the fight against Al-Shabaab. This commitment was reflected in the following instances:

  • As per the information obtained from President Hassan Sheikh’s meeting with the United States Secretary of Défense in Djibouti.
  • Meetings to discuss the 90-day technical pause to the ATMIS drawdown.
  • Meetings held by Somali officials with Somalia’s allies in the Gulf and the Arab League.
  • Diplomatic relations with neighbouring countries and across the region.

These meetings and discussions have shaped a new political and security perspective based on military strength to confront Al-Shabaab. This approach contrasts the view that has become prominent within the past five years, characterized by dialogue between the government and Al-Shabaab fighters, mediated by a close Arab ally of Somalia.

Social Theory

Al-Shabaab has been a prominent force and a threat in Somalia for over 15 years. Aside from their political ideology, it is a group that has been recognized, feared, and normalized by communities living in their controlled areas. The President attempted, and to some extent succeeded, in organizing and mobilizing local tribes in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

During his stay in Dhusamareb, several tribes and influential individuals have emerged as strong opponent Al-Shabaab, a strategy in which the President is known for.

Addressing Clan Mistrust

It’s evident that tribal disputes and conflicts exist in Galmudug and Hirshabelle States. Among warring communities, border disputes and scepticism have impeded cooperation and coordination in the fight against Al-Shabaab. Following the President’s extensive visits and engagement, tensions and conflicts have reduced, a development seen as an important pillar in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

Encouragement and Mobilization

While the number, quality, and equipment of the army are crucial, they alone are not sufficient. Building high morale, patriotism, and showing support for the armed forces are essential. President Hassan Sheikh donned military attire, delivered inspiring speeches, and made regular visits to military camps, which greatly encouraged the troops.

The nights in Dhusamareb were not all peaceful. The President undoubtedly experienced sleepless nights, faced confusion, pressure, and criticism.

Events like Cowsweyne and  Ceel-Lahelay disrupted the President’s comprehensive plans. Some locations previously liberated from Al-Shabaab were recaptured by the militants, causing public outrage and criticism on social media. 

Calls for changes in the leadership of the Ministry of Défense were made by both his supporters and the opposition. However, the President took responsibility for the Minister and the army chief’s mistakes and refused to take any action despite calls for change.

Sources close to the president confirmed that the President made a tough decision to prioritize the fight against terrorism over accountability, acknowledging the consequences of previous wrong decisions.

The lesson that the President learned from Dhusamareeb is the need for a strategy that coordinates the parties involved in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

The National Army and Local Community Forces “Macawisley”

The National Army and the local community forces “Macawisley” will continue to collaborate in the fight.

The National Army and ATMIS

What is the role of the African Transition Mission (ATMIS) troops in this fight and their collaboration with the Somali National Army?

The National Army and Drone Operations

The Government’s use of friendly governments’ aircraft for bombings in the strongholds of Al-Shabaab and where its leaders are stationed is a critical aspect.

Units within the Somali National Army

Coordination among elite forces like Gor-gor, units trained in Eritrea, those trained in Uganda, and Danab is paramount.

In summary, the President’s most challenging task lies in constructing a well-organized command structure for the army and establishing an efficient process for issuing orders, allowing him to focus on other activities, including politics, economic growth, and foreign relations.

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