Forget South Sudan, Keep Mogadishu safe


Mogadishu ( UM) – This week the Somali government said  that it was ready to send troops to help with security and enhance peace in South Sudan after South Sudanese government officials and opposition groups recently signed an agreement to end a five-year civil war in Addis Ababa.

The news that the Somali government was willing and ready to send troops to assist the South Sudanese government caught many Somalis by surprise. Somalia has stepped up its diplomatic engagement with key security and reconciliation efforts in the Horn and Present Farmaajo attended the signing of the peace agreement between the South Sudanese parties in Addis Ababa a weeks ago. Yet most interviewed by UM felt that despite the diplomatic ambitions of Somalia, it was not ready to send any soldiers anywhere.

“Somalia sending soldiers to keep peace in South Sudan? This is ridiculous and impossible. The region is already helping us with AMISOM to make our own home safe so I don’t think they will ask us for anything,” said Mohamed Abdi, a lecturer in Mogadishu.

Many interviewed felt that the Government’s first priority to fix its own security problems which remains challenged by Al-Shabaab and a weak security sector without much training, resources and poor leadership.

“The Somali National Army must focus on securing Somalia against Al-Shabaab which are still strong and control sizeable space. The idea that we can go and help South Sudan in our current state is not credible,” said a senior security analyst within the Somali government who did not want to be named. “In many ways, the South Sudanese are better equipped, financed and trained than the Somali soldiers so this will expose our own soldiers and our national security to serious dangers.”

Most interviewed felt that the Somali government must find financing for the transition plan and security architecture which was designed as the exit plan for AMISOM.

“This government is full of surprises but they must get serious. We want them to secure Mogadishu first before they think about South Sudan,” said Moalimo Abdirahman, an aspiring poet. “What can you do for others when you yourself are sick.”