Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Somalia: A Mapping Report

Somalia’s perennial, multifaceted, continuous conflicts and recurring political instability, orchestrated mainly by the Al-Shabaab insurgency, but largely influenced by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have resulted in a deterioration of security and peace in the horn of Africa state. Efforts to build a functioning state have faced numerous challenges amidst insurgency and violent extremism caused by the collapse of state institutions, including the judicial system, the emergence of extremism, conflicts between clans, youth unemployment and poverty which has in turn caused havoc in Somalia and the region at large. In advancing its efforts towards preventing and countering the growing national and regional terrorism, the Somali government has developed policies, most notably the National Strategy and Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, which was adopted in September 2016. In spite of the numerous efforts put in place, Al-Shabaab and ISIS continue to be a threat to peace and security in Somalia and the entire Horn of Africa. This reality has compelled the Somali government and its international partners including neighbouring countries and other troop-contributing countries to engage in a shadowy and complex fight against violent extremism. This, among other military interventions including but not limited to drone assassinations, often inadvertently kills innocent civilians in remote areas, and in still intimidation and fear among locals. Accordingly, best practices and community -owned strategies to prevent and counter violent extremism are needed. Their central objective must not to be to simply degrade and destroy Al-Shabaab but rather to ensure human rights and seek public approval of the peace rebuilding efforts through active participation and involvement of the general public aimed towards a people owned and driven process.