Terrorism has been the main theme as East African leaders meet in a security summit in Mogadishu, Somalia on Wednesday to assess their collective approach to deal with the security challenges posed by al-Shabaab.Speaking at the Somalia Frontlines States Summit, President William Ruto said the war against terrorism in the Horn of Africa calls for a collective effort and called for the adoption of a common strategy to combat it and associated criminality.
He said through common endeavour, leaders have the power to rebuild stable societies and secure the people’s well-being.
“We must dismantle terror networks and financial support infrastructure; this must be complemented by countering radicalisation and the propagation of extremism,” he said.
He asked the people of Somalia to rise up bravely to seize back their country from the clutches of al-Shabaab.
In particular, President Ruto pointed out the involvement of local communities in countering the insurgents as “extremely brave and remarkable”.
“We congratulate President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on this radical strategic turnaround and the success that is now evident in many parts of Somalia” he added.
In order to sustain the resurgent momentum of the achievements made by Somalia, President Ruto explained, “it is time to firmly commit to improve our overall capacity to intervene effectively”.
“This can be achieved by enhancing the complementary mobilisation of law enforcement, intelligence and financial resources.”
Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, among other leaders, were present.
Kenya like Somalia has been routinely targeted by Shabaab in retaliation for the country’s troop contribution to a hybrid African Union peacekeeping force to tackle the militants.
In recent months, the insurgents had suffered setbacks with the killing of its outfield commanders and over 200 fighters thanks to joint operations by US special forces and regulars of a revamped Somali military.