Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vowed this week that his government will eradicate the threat of al-Shabab and other terrorist groups in his country.
“We are now confident that with enhanced public support, our government will eliminate terrorism from Somalia,” Mohamud said in his address Sept. 22, 2022, to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Somali army forces backed by local militias have retaken dozens of villages from the al-Shabab militant group in recent weeks, mostly in the central Hiran and Galgudud regions.
The U.S. military, which has backed the Somali government with airstrikes against Islamist militants for a decade, said Wednesday it had killed 27 fighters from al-Shabab in an airstrike in the Hiran region.
Mohamud said that the Somali government will take a leading role in the fight against terrorism and will continue to work with all its partners, including the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, but added that Somalia needs international support to implement its plans.
“We are fully committed to doing the heavy lifting to secure our future,” Mohamud said.
“In Somalia we have a wise saying and it is: ‘One finger cannot wash the whole face.’ If we work together sincerely, collaboratively as a community of nations — no challenge, no matter how big it is — is insurmountable.”
According to the president, terrorism in Somalia is a “persistent and complex challenge” that exacerbates all other crises, such as food insecurity, the displacement of people from their homes, and climate change.
The U.N. has warned that because of the persistent drought, hundreds of thousands in Somalia are already in danger of starving and that shocking levels of malnutrition are anticipated among children under the age of five.
The president called on Somalia’s partners to do everything possible to help avert a looming famine, which he said also threatens the wider Horn of Africa region.
“We urge all our partners to heed our call and work with us to provide immediate support and relief to the most affected communities,” he said.
In order to spearhead the urgent process of tackling the catastrophic effects of environmental deterioration, Mohamud said Somalia has for the first time formed a new ministry of environment and climate change.
“Somalia is caught between floods and droughts annually, owing to climate change and poor infrastructure. Our people, who have a long tradition of living harmoniously with nature and barely contributing to poisonous emissions warming the Earth, are the ones who are paying with their lives today,” said the president.
“We know that climate change is real, and we are living with the evidence of its painful and destructive reality today. We also know that Somalia, and the rest of the world, cannot develop sustainably without the global climate crisis being jointly addressed quickly and effectively.”