The recent dastardly act of the terrorism in Kenya Garissa University where nearly 150 youths lost lives become one of the horrors of history in Kenya, after the Westgate attack on 21st September 2013 that claimed 70 lives. The large loss of innocent university students in the hands of evil actors (Al-Shabaab) is now an issue of collective concern for every conscious human being.
Al-Shabaab is an off-shoot of Islamic Courts of Union (ICU), which fractured into more than a few smaller sections right after its defeat in 2006 by Ethiopian military allied with The then Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Al-Shabaab designates itself as instigating jihad against what they called “opponents of Islam”, and vowed to engaged in a total battle against all countries in which Somalis live, those could; Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.
Al-Shabaab’s precipitous deteriorations in the contemporary years have made deep-seated reforms as a matter of continued existence. The group fall over far from its intoxicating pinnacle in 2009-2010 when it was without question the most dominant force in Southern Somalia, controlling most of the major towns including much of the capital Mogadishu and earning tens of million dollars in a compulsory tax revenue. Since Al-Shabaab started surrendering territory- including its principle “income-earning”, the port of Kismayo to the combined effort of African Union Troops-that is, the Kenyan and Ethiopian armed forces and the Ahmed Madobe’s Raskamboni allies. Not only that, the statuses of its leadership have been weather-beaten by the intelligence-led air assaults and the commando operations.
The question of Al-Shabaab’s core conceptual distinctiveness and affiliations appears to have been absolutely settled within the structure of JIHADI orientation-a poorly and ignorantly interpretation of the genuine Islamic teaching. What now hang back on Al-Shabaab is the extra fanatical outlying of cowardice sporadic attacks in students campus and public Malls. The Al-Qeada franchise infused group with “Khawariij” Philosophy that legitimizes the indiscriminate killing of both Christians and Muslims in a primitive fashion is in the last stage of its desolation and disappearance for good.
What must we do as Ethiopian youth?
As an Ethiopian youth, you need to be watch out, to fall in to the traps of Al-Shabaab, in that, they have tough “tear-causing” indoctrination programs, they will entice you with fake promises of monetary incentives and “social pressure” later they will solidify on you a long-run pledge through ideological indoctrination and use of evil witchcraft to make you completely unconscious and sightless to make you submit total allegiance so as to undertake unholy death through suicidal sacrificial. After you are gone, the brunt of the consequence will be shouldered by your parents and families. What good have you done? Ethiopia now is the most protected country, given the territorial dangers surrounding such as, Eretria, Somalia, South Sudan and lately Kenya; with our great forces and intelligence you feel now safe, but that is not enough, the role of youth is seriously inevitable, in that, among other patriotic roles you could do, the individual level surveillance, keeping yourself away the traps of terrorist, and alerting information to the nearest police centers in the unlikely event of suspect, is a great input to the security of the nation. Dear youth, the worst scenario, God for bide, Al-Shabaab and other affiliates terror groups targets youth in the schools, universities and in the colleges. Look at what happen in Nigeria, the Boko Haram abducted 200 school girls and keep them hostages as a human shield for nearly a year and a half, sorry to say, the girls are now futureless, their parents are stranded. The youths in any country are the futures leaders, mothers and fathers, they are the ones in which future of a nation relies on. Terrorists, like Al-Shabaab are adaptive adversaries who use variables of tools and strategies to reach the youths who are their potential recruits and supporters. Regrettably, there is cumulative evidence such as (the recent University of Nairobi law student who carried out the Garissa University massacre) terrorist organizations are drawing school aged youths into their ranks all around the world.
As a parent what should do to your sons?
Parents are the role model of their children, as the Somali saying goes, children do what the parents talk, parents should prepare their sons and daughters into a peace-loving citizen, and lecture them to be the future hopes of this great country-Ethiopia. Al-Shabaab precisely targets your children, to make you precarious and insecure. Recently as a game change, Al-Shabaab has increasingly forced children, some as young as 10, to join its diminishing ranks. After several weeks of harsh training, Al-Shabaab’s child recruits are then sent to the front lines, where some serve as “cannon fodder” to protect adult fighters. While others have been coerced into becoming suicide bombers. A 15-year-old boy in Mogadishu told Human Rights Watch that in 2010, “Out of all my classmates – about 100 boys – only two of us escaped, the rest were killed. The children were cleaned off. The children all died and the bigger soldiers ran away.” Al-Shabaab has also abducted girls for domestic and front-line service, as well as to be wives to al-Shabaab fighters.
As an intellectual, what are your roles in keeping the country safe?
Intellectuals are the frontline brain of any nation, the success of a nation economically, politically and socially depends upon the healthy minds and hearts of nation’s scholars, the fight against terrorism is not only the duty of the government army forces, but the intellectual masses have the stake. Political unity, patriotism and bridging the diversities are some of the roles of nation’s intellectuals.
For those numbers of intellectuals who are hostile to EPRDF’s political walkway, should know that Al-Shabaab sinful desires are indiscriminate in targets, and more often than not intellectuals are prime marks. For sure Al-Shabaab does not like peaceful and prosperous Ethiopian state at all. What keeps them at bay? Simply, the patriotic nature of our people a coupled with Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), with their broad authority for intelligence and proficiency talents, wrapped with border sense of ardent alert on security, and criminal investigation knowhow, in handling overall counterterrorism conspiracy. Had it not been that way, Al-Shabaab will have stir up trouble and would attempt their malicious and utter criminal aspirations to cause mass deaths to us. Al-Shabaab stubbornly chosen to follow wicked ideology wherever they will be. Although the road to carry out such reprehensible deed in Ethiopian proved completely impossible, but they are always out to capitulate to the extreme “Khawariij” interpretation of Islam and further desire to use divisionism between Muslims and Christians that peacefully co-existed since time immemorial in Ethiopia. Such people are not surprise to be found in political circles, contraband commercial dealings (chief source of income as a recent game-change-scenarios) particularly that along borderlines i.e. Wajale woreda, Awbare woreda, Moyale-Dollo Ado corridor of Fafan (Jigjiga) and Liban zones respectively, as well as and religious circles, and they are extremely reactionaries, it’s the intellectuals starring role to blow the whistle on the venues to curb in a more pragmatic and scholarly fashion.
A glimpse of success stories of foiled attempt of Al-Shabaab
For those who think that Al-Shabaab would never attack Ethiopia, should remember what happen on December 2013, when Al-Shabaab plan to attach Addis Ababa did materialize, in that their suicide bombers did planned to bomb Addis Ababa stadium when over 20,000 spectators were watching a qualifier for the football World Cup between Ethiopia and Nigeria. The controlled and failed terrorist attempt at Addis Ababa Stadium was one among the number of similar attempts foiled owing to the joint harmonized efforts of the people and government of Ethiopia
Somali Regional State should seriously be empowered to monitor the already porous and instable Somalia‘s borders as a critical national security threat outsource and maintained a defensive special police (Liyuu) of the region presence along the Somali border to stem potential infiltration of extremists into Ethiopia given that they have culture and language resemblance, and it’s easy for the regional Liyuu police to keep surveillance with always back-up support of the Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). Every one of us, should be careful that, whoever or any political organizations/institutions with ideology or manifesto indicating the use of forceful revolutions for political, economic or social change through mass killing weather they are Al-Qeada, Al-Shabaab, ONLF,OLF Ginbot 7 are nothing but a terrorist, and deserve a collective response to weep them out once and for all.
The writer is an MBA-IB and can be reached at Dhagaweyne3@gmail.com.