Mogadishu, Somalia – The Somalia based, al-Qaeda–linked terrorist group known as Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen has declared it will continue its campaign of terror and violence against the new western-backed Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and the peace-keeping troops of the African Union Mission in Somalia(AMISOM). Somalia’s President Farmajo, who holds a citizenship from both Somalia and the United States, ran a strong electoral campaign against 19 other opponents which focused on nationalism and ridding the famously failed state of the Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab. In the end, now President Farmajo won over the people of Somalia and was sworn in as the nation’s president on February 8th.
During the run up to the election, al-Shabaab, also conducted its own campaign by way of car bombings and guerrilla hit-and-run tactics against the city of Mogadishu and its surroundings, targeting AMISOM and civilians alike in protest of the upcoming elections. Citing that Western influence and widespread corruption within the Somali government that will put Western-backed ‘puppets’ in seats of power within the Somali Parliament and the Presidency. The Sunday after Farmajo won the presidency, al-Shabaab leadership in the town of Jilib, just northwest of the southern Somali port city of Kismayo, held an impromptu parade. It encompassed over 800 of its newly trained and ready to fight members marching through the streets of Jilib in a display of renewed commitment and vigor in al-Shabaab’s fight against AMISOM and the Somali government with one of al-Shabaab’s leaders declaring that “fresh new attacks” on Somali Army and AMISOM installations and convoys are on the horizon and to have Somali and AMISOM forces to prepare for bloodshed.
President Farmajo has many issues that are now placed on his 55-year-old shoulders. The persistent threat from al-Shabaab is just one of the problems. Now, as the summer months approach the East African country, the United Nations is now claiming that Somalia is facing a “very real risk” of a large scale famine that could affect more than 6 million people. The Food Security and Nutritional Analysis Unit in Somalia (FSNAU) is classifying Somalia as in “Crisis and Emergency,” one step away from a full on country-wide famine. Dick Trenchard, spokesperson for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) echoed just that in a statement to The Guardian: “The latest report tells us that we risk famine in several areas of Somalia in the coming months. The warning could not be clearer and it could not be more stark. What worries most is the projected speed of deterioration, the scale – in terms of number of people at risk, the geography and the very real risk of a significant worsening.” This on top of Transparency Internationals glowing review of Somalia being “The most corrupt country in the world.” President Farmajo has three major tests for his presidential cabinet, al-Shabaab simply isn’t on the highest of priorities list for the people of Somalia.
Feature Image courtesy of: Al-Jazeera