Somalia: Al-Shabaab continues to pose a serious threat to peace and security

Anita Kiki Gbeho

The Al-Shabaab militant group continues to pose a serious threat to peace and security in Somalia, said Anita Kiki Gbeho, officer-in-charge of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia.

The year 2022 was the deadliest for civilians in the country since 2017, with a 60 percent increase in civilian casualties as compared with 2021, she told the UN Security Council in a briefing.

Over the past few months, the Somali federal government has made progress in countering this threat by targeting Al-Shabaab’s military and financial operations and ideological narrative. The Somalia security forces, reinforced by the use of local militias, have conducted successful operations against Al-Shabaab in Hirshabelle and Galmudug states. Operations are expected to gradually move into other areas of Somalia, she said.

“Consolidating gains in the newly recovered areas will require strong linkages between military operations and stabilization initiatives, comprised of reconciliation and justice components and aimed at bolstering good governance and service delivery,” said Gbeho.

In parallel, the government continues efforts toward generating forces to gradually assume security responsibilities in line with the Somali transition plan. However, funding for the security transition remains a critical challenge, she said.

With five consecutive poor rainy seasons, the current drought is unprecedented in Somalia. Humanitarian needs continue to steadily rise, with about 8.3 million people, nearly half of Somalia’s estimated population, requiring assistance and protection in 2023, she said.

Thanks to generous donor support, government efforts, and local community initiatives, humanitarian organizations scaled up response and reached 7.3 million people in 2022, she said.

While famine has been prevented for now, famine remains a threat if the April-June rains underperform as forecast, and humanitarian assistance is not sustained, she warned.

Gbeho called on donors to stand with Somalia at this difficult time by responding to the newly launched 2023 humanitarian response plan that seeks 2.6 billion U.S. dollars to meet the priority needs of 7.6 million Somalis.

The United Nations stands ready to support Somalia in implementing its vision of a secure, stable, and peaceful nation, she said. ■

About Famagusta Gazette 9493 Articles
In addition to our Mediterranean perspective, Famagusta Gazette publish extensive coverage of world news, travel and tourism features, and financial information. Follow us on Twitter @FamagustaG