AU trains 80 Somali officials on rehabilitation of former al-Shaabab combatants

Thursday December 12 2019

Somali police force attend an Amisom handover ceremony of the Mogadishu stadium. Amisom had used the stadium as one of its base since 2011. FILE PHOTO | AFP


The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) said Wednesday it has trained some 80 government officials involved in the management and rehabilitation of ex-combatants.

Simon Mulongo, deputy head of Amisom, expressed the AU mission's commitment to supporting the government to rehabilitate former combatants.

"It should be in the national interest to end violence," Mulongo said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

The government officials drawn from Somali state agencies that handle rehabilitation of former combatants attended the two-day training program aimed at sharing best practices and challenges of the rehabilitation program and how to forge ahead.

Mohamed Ali Hussein, director of the defector rehabilitation program in the Ministry of Internal Security, said the program complements the government's stand to offer amnesty to those that renounce violence.

"The national rehabilitation program gives a second chance to ex-combatants from extremist groups like al-Shabab, enabling them to be remorseful and seek forgiveness," said Hussein.


He emphasised that Amisom is a crucial partner in providing training, equipment and resourcing for the rehabilitation of former combatants, an integral part of the national program for the treatment and handling of disengaged combatants in Somalia.

Hassan Ali Nur Shuute, the chief of Somalia's military tribunal, said that any ex-combatant who does not undergo rehabilitation is still an enemy.

"I urge all police station commanders not to harbour ex-combatants in their respective districts without notifying the appropriate authorities for them to undergo rehabilitation," said Shuute.

The AU and the UN missions in Somalia have been at the forefront of rehabilitating former al-Shabab combatants and helping in the establishment of rehab centers in towns and cities including Baidoa, Belet Weyne and Mogadishu.