Somalia: Federal Govt in talks with senior Al Shabaab officials
MOGADISHU, Somalia, April 5, 2015 (Garowe Online)-Federal Government of Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud for the first time unveiled that negotiations are underway between his government and top Al Shabaab commanders on Sunday, Garowe Online reports.
In an interview with VOA Somali Service, Mohamud also spoke on Garissa University campus attack and Kenya wall project.
Govt in talks with Al Shabaab officials
Mohamud revealed that his administration began secret talks with high ranking Al Shabaab officials who are keen to renounce extremism over years ago: “It’s true. Somalia has a visible strategy at this matter”.
He added that the negotiations are lengthy: “We are in talks with them. Anybody who takes a backseat over the terrorism and killings is welcome”.
Deadly siege at Garissa University
On the lately Garissa University campus attack, Somalia President called the deadly siege by Al Shabaab gunmen ‘inhumane and brutal act’ aimed at dividing Kenyan people along religious lines.
“Garissa people have suffered immense problem. We are very sorry and we condole with them, Al Shabaab’s agenda was to wreak havoc in Kenya but we are not ready to see Kenyans turning against each other,” stressed President Mohamud.
Urging Kenyans to unite against Al Shabaab, he went on: “Al Shabaab ability is weakening with each passing day”.
‘Kenya wall project’ will not quell prevailing security challenges
Continuing, Mohamud said that Somalia government was not consulted on the construction of wall along Somalia-Kenya border in remarks diplomats believe would risk another diplomatic spat.
“Kenyan government didn’t officially write to Somalia about the [wall project]. We heard from the media, we are battling ideology not armed group positioned at known base,” he disclosed, emphasizing that prevailing security challenges could not be resolved through a wall.
Calling Al Shabaab a regional problem, Somalia President appealed for collective cooperation on the fight against extremists.
In deadliest attack since 1998 bombings, Al Shabaab killed scores of students in a siege at university campus in Garrisa town which lies 100 miles away from porous border between Somalia and Kenya.