Mogadishu (UM) – The evil terrorist attack on Dusit hotel in Nairobi on January 15th was shocking and upsetting. Whatever reasons were given by Al-Shabaab there can be no justification for the murder of the innocent, whatever their religion. The victims and their nationalities and the savage way in which they were killed illustrated that the terrorists have no respect for borders or divided politics. In fact, they wanted to create tension and distrust between neighbours, friends and allies who, more than ever, need one another. The only global threat and enemy of progress and humanity is senseless terrorism.
The Somali people truly worried that because of Al-Shabaab’s claimed act of destruction at the Dusit hotel, the Kenyan people and Government will turn on the Somali people. A few misguided ones did but thankfully the worst was avoided because of excellent communications at all levels between the two governments and people. Solidarity and empathy won the day. Divisions were put aside as all realised the members of the terrorist cell were also from Kenya and had hurt people in Somalia too.
Now, going forward, we must accept that there has been security failures across the board in both Kenya and Somalia. The bomber in the restaurant has the blood of both Kenyans and Somalis on his hands as well as those from other countries. He moved between both borders, according to reports, to undertake his evil acts. Why did this happen given how both the Somali and Kenyan government celebrate their intelligence sharing cooperation? This is an important question that both governments must answer and an area they must improve on beyond the pleasant words. Lives depend on this. Somalia and Kenya have a deep rooted crisis with official corruption and unless both address this issue properly, cross border security will not improve. The pointless discussion of where the terrorist weapons originated from is neither here or there because we all know terrorism is borderless. The security advisers and services on both sides of the border must stop the pathetic blame game and rise to the challenge of intercepting, disrupting and eliminating terrorist threats.
AMISOM has over 20,000 soldiers in Somalia, the Somali Security sector is around 30,000 plus and the international community is supporting both financially and practically. Why is progress against Al-Shabaab so slow? The security chiefs will no doubt say this is a simple analysis of a complex matter but there is nothing complex about the waste of resources on policies that do not work. Security officials in Somalia, including those within AMISOM, must be honest with the Somali people.
Despite the resources and verbal commitments, security is one of the Somali Federal Government’s greatest weaknesses. If this is not addressed, the public and international partners will lose faith. Kenya and other neighbours, the African Union and international partners involved in Somali security and stability must ask themselves why is it their shortcomings in Somalia is causing havoc and tension in the wider region. Security cannot be a project in Somalia: there must be genuine commitment and accountability for the Somali people to have confidence in their government, it’s partners and the state building process.
The constant media reference to Al-Shabab as a Somali terrorist organisation is wrong because they are a part of a global network of terrorists. If any other country wants to have them the Somali people welcome it to get rid of the horrible association that is made between them and their violent oppressors and murderers.