Militant Islamist violence in Africa has risen continuously over the past decade, doubling in just the past 3 years.
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Sixteen years of a militarized approach toward al Shabaab has resulted in a stalemate. Negotiation between the two sides has yet to be explored in earnest. There are several barriers impeding negotiations, and there would need to be sufficient deterrents (such as limiting al Shabaab’s ability to extract taxes from the population) and incentives (such as ensuring that the Somali government can make good on its promises) to keep the parties engaged. Nevertheless, negotiations must be on the table.
A Webinar on Thursday, December 3, 2020, designed to expand understanding of the key technological and geopolitical trends driving Africa’s digital revolution of most concern to African security sector professionals; explore the main ways in which rising internet penetration, technological innovation and the diffusion of cyber capabilities are influencing Africa’s national security landscape; discuss and consider how the COVID-19 pandemic influence how the digital revolution will impact Africa’s security landscape; and identify the cyber capabilities and intentions and of key national security actors, including states, criminal networks and terrorist groups.
Militias can present an attractive alternative to state forces but they carry many risks. Somalia, which hosts many militias, reveals why states and their international partners should resist the urge to create and rely on militias. Some such groups prey on local communities, at times perpetrating serious human rights abuses and enabling mafia-like economic practices. Violent extremist organizations exploit clan and community conflicts and economic grievances. Supporting local conflict resolution within and across communities can begin to alleviate these problems.
Somali and international efforts have shifted to planning for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to transition directly Somali security forces without an interim UN mission. The implementation of the Transition Plan will require new institutions, processes, and commitment to good governance, changing the Somali state and providing lessons for security sector reform. AMISOM’s eventual exit will influence how the AU and the UN mandate and authorize future missions.
In this Africa Center roundtable, Somalia's National Security Advisor shares his vision for establishing a stable Somalia. Priority reforms include strengthening oversight of the security sector and improving security support to rural communities most vulnerable to Al Shabaab.
Somalia’s National Security Advisor Abdisaid Ali talks about political will, security reforms in Somalia’s Transition Plan, and the commitment to domestic and international coalition building to sustain the country’s progress.
In an interview with the Africa Center, Simon Mulongo, deputy to the AU Commission in Mogadishu, says that AMISOM’s gains could never have been realized if it had continued to rely on the traditional peacekeeping template.
Non-state security providers (NSSPs) in Somalia, often entrenched in clan identity politics and the pursuit of profit, are ubiquitous. Their prevalence undermines efforts by the Somali government to provide legitimate governance and security. Yet they are often the only reliable source of protection and so are used by neighborhoods, businesses, international organizations, and even politicians.... Continue Reading
Fatalities linked to militant Islamist violence jumped by 20 percent in 2023, claiming more than 23,000 lives—a new record. Over 80 percent of these deaths were in the Sahel and Somalia.
Africa’s multifaceted 2024 electoral docket provides opportunities to strengthen multipartyism, transition back to constitutionalism following coups, and rebuff perfunctory exercises.
Structural factors continue to drive higher levels of migration within and out of Africa. While this represents a vital source of labor for host countries, irregular migration continues to pose extraordinary risks.