Take care of your own security, army cannot be everywhere, Somalia president tells residents
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has urged locals to join the Somali National Army [SNA] in fighting violent extremists, noting that the national army cannot defend everyone across the country contrary to expectations of thousands of people who are defending on them.
The country has thousands of troops with an addition of 19,600 serving in the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] and 500 from the US Africa Command but the threat posed by Al-Shabaab makes it extremely difficult for the soldiers to reach every corner of Somalia.
During his visit to the recently liberated town of Adan Yabal on Sunday, Hassan Sheikh urged citizens to be responsible for their own security, adding that it is only in HirShabelle where illegal roadblocks are still being mounted by Al-Shabaab. The rest of the country, he added, remains safe and secure.
He emphasized that the government can't send troops everywhere and urged citizens to contribute to the security of their areas. Elsewhere in Somalia, the local militia has taken arms against the militants who have been fighting to topple the fragile UN-backed federal government of Somalia.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud stated that areas, where Al-Shabaab remains active, are those where locals have not yet risen up and are unprepared to combat the terrorist group. For the last seven months, the militants have, however, lost grip of strategic towns following the sophisticated operation.
During this Holy month of Ramadan, the national army is set to launch the second phase of the Al-Shabaab crackdown which will focus on remote areas where the militants still have influence. The government of Somalia has also started installing civilian administration in areas where the military managed to flush out the militants.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had vowed to get rid of the militants thus launching "total war" against the group and has been asking for assistance from stakeholders.
The president managed to persuade Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia to send additional troops to the country for the impending second phase of the Al-Shabaab crackdown.