Somalia: Schools re-open in former Al-Shabaab strongholds


MOGADISHU, Somalia - A number of schools have re-opened in former Al-Shabaab strongholds, just as Somalia prepares for the second phase of operations against the militants, who still control large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia, with Jubaland and Southwest being at the center of focus.

In Harardhere District, state media reports, pupils reported to various institutions as a show of resilience and perseverance following years of Al-Shabaab dominance. The Somali National Army [SNA] with assistance from international partners, managed to liberate the town from the militants.

For almost two decades, learning activities were immensely disrupted in several parts of Somalia after the militants took over. Throughout this period, the Al-Shabaab have been wreaking havoc on innocent civilians, killing thousands in the process.

"After 15 years of Alshabab oppression, Harardhere is seeing a new dawn. The town has resumed public services and education since it was freed by the forces," read a tweet from the state media, accompanied by photos of pupils playing in some schools.

Recently, the government recruited 3,000 more teachers to boost education institutions and reopen schools in areas recovered from al-Shabaab. Al-Shabab has also been trying to influence the curriculum, going so far as to introduce its own curriculum for primary schools and middle schools.

The government has invested in education across the country, trying to push literacy levels as part of state-building. International partners have played a critical role in building a number of schools in liberated areas with the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] also constructing others.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre visited the Ministry of Defence where he had a meeting with the ministry’s leaders and the chief of the National Army. They talked about the ongoing fight against terrorists and the plan for the SNA to take over security from ATMIS by 2024, state media reports.

The second phase of operations against the group is set to commence in due course, with the Somali National Army expected to lead the command. It is anticipated that by December 2024, most of the Al-Shabaab strongholds will have been secured by the army.


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