Somalia on Sunday launched a strategy to help prevent and counter violent extremism which is a serious threat to stability in the Horn of Africa nation.
A joint statement issued after a meeting that brought together Somali federal and state authorities together with the international community said participants on a support and coordination mechanism put in operation the national strategy to prevent and counter violent extremism.
The strategy was launched in Mogadishu by the Somali Deputy Prime Minister, Mahdi Mohamed Guled, who hailed the launch as a milestone in the country’s efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism in order to help attain a sustainable peace for the country.
He said the strategy, also referred to as ‘Strand 4’, is part of the National Security Architecture (NSA), which was endorsed by Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and the presidents of the federal member states in April.
The NSA aims to tackle violent extremism and address wide ranging issues causing conflict and insecurity in Somalia.
The objectives of the Strand 4 which is co-chaired by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Swedish Embassy is for conflicts to be addressed politically, as opposed to through violence.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Michael Keating stressed on the need to address the drivers of violent extremism and called for a multi-pronged approach to effectively tackle insecurity.
“If we only focus on the military aspect on insecurity we will not succeed. I am just thrilled that we have come together to look at how prevention and countering of violent extremism can help address some of these issues,” the UN envoy said.
Participants agreed at the meeting that key government agencies and federal member states appoint focal point persons to drive the process and come up with a plan of action ahead of the follow-up meeting to the London Conference, scheduled for December.
Swedish Ambassador to Somalia Andreas von Uexküll signed the terms of reference spelling out the roles, responsibilities, managerial and operational procedures of Strand 4.
Uexküll observed that violent extremism is widespread, affecting not only Somalia but also many other countries and called for concerted efforts in tackling this phenomenon.
“We also need to connect our work on human rights, security, rule of law and justice. Sustainable solutions can only be achieved if we address our efforts for youth, inclusion and economic recovery,” he added.