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.
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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
There is not a single African COVID-19 trajectory, but rather multiple, distinct risk profiles. These profiles highlight the differentiating role that a free press, government transparency, and conflict play in responding to the pandemic in Africa.
An additional 4 million Africans were forced from their homes due to conflict and repressive governance in the past year, continuing an upward trend since 2011.
African countries face varying levels of risk that will require adapting a diversified set of response strategies to the coronavirus. The most vulnerable countries may not be those with the earliest onset.
The spread of the coronavirus in Africa is intersecting with the continent’s population displacement crisis. Protecting displaced persons and migrants will be key to reducing the overall rates of transmission.
Given its fragile public health systems and close ties to China, Africa is vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus, highlighting the continent’s centrality to global health security.
African elections in 2020 will be a test against efforts to erode presidential term limits and other democratic checks and balances, with direct consequences for stability on the continent.