Early this month, the Al-Shabab terrorist group appointed new leaders in their quest to continue supporting terrorism in the Horn of Africa; in particular, in Somalia and neighboring countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and others. The top most leaders within the organisation include men such as Sheik Dahir Aweys; Deputy Ibrahim Al Afghan; Sheik Mkhtar Ali Godane; and the leader of abductions Sahul Dauda.
The Ugandan army, the Ugandan Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF), under the AMISON umbrella of the African Union have promised to crush Al Shabab to the last man. According to Amison spokesperson Col.Paddy Ankunda, “We know all that they are doing, they should either surrender or we crush them”
We should know that since the 1990s Somalia has not had a democratically elected government. This country is filled with small militia groups, which always claim the leadership of Somalia.
The world has been so silent on the human rights violations and mass killing of Somali people. Many have left the country and become refugees in neighboring countries. Al-Shabab use money which they mainly get from pirates to acquire ammunitions from western countries. This also may explain why rich developed countries have no mercy for developing countries on matters of human suffering.
The matter became worse recently at the beginning of this year. In the Northern Arab countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya people denounced their governments, claiming that they were violating peoples’ rights and that there was a lack of democracy. The whole world saw how big powers and NATO involved themselves in a war, especially in Libya.
The following questions came into the minds of African people – why did NATO come very quickly in Libya? Why did NATO not rescue Somalis’ and declare a no fly zone? A person who will answer the above question will not fail to see the gap of motive to NATO and other powers to go to Libya!
We should note that in 2007, Uganda sent troops to Somalia; even this year, Uganda is sending 1,700 soldiers to replace those who have been fighting and now are returning home. Also credit should be given toBurundiwho has also managed to send troops. Also in November 2011, Kenya decided to join the fight against Al-Shabab in order to stop them from entering Kenya and abducting people, especially white tourists. The Kenyan Government promised to join AMISON troops soon.
The fight against terrorism in Africashould not be overlooked by the super powers and NATO. We all know that after the terror attack on 9/11 the American government openly waged war on notable terror supporting countries and groups and the world has seen changes made because of that course. But neglecting Africawill not only claim the lives of blacks but also whites. For example, the attacks on the American embassy in 1995 in both Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2010 11th July attack in Uganda, when people were watching the football world cup final. The terrorists targeted fully packed places with both Africans and non-African’s such as the restaurant Ethiopian Village and the rugby club at Lugogo, both in Kampala.
It is high time for the whole world to acknowledge the suffering of Somalis of over 20 years and stop inhuman act’s of human rights abuse, which includes human sacrifice, child soldiers and increased death due to malnutrition. African Union member states must also fulfill their promise of sending a peace keeping body to work under their umbrella of Amison to restore peace. The world bodies like WFP, UN, UNDP, UNCFR, US government and others are thanked for the support to the people of Somalia. However, much more is needed to liberate Somali land from the hands of terrors.
Opinion Piece by Kisaka Samuel Robinson, Kampala.