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On the fight against terror, let us do it differently.

weapons seized from Al-shabaab by amisom-nepjournal

By Billow Abdi:

weapons seized from Al-shabaab by amisom-nepjournal

Counting blessings: An AMISOM officer takes stock of Weapons seized from Al-Shabaab’s on June 10, 2016 in a botched attack at Halgan camp where the AU Mission killed over 140 militants.

Terrorism has caused us too much damage and as terrorist seem determined on their agenda most likely we will witness more of their heinous ideology mercilessly acting on us before our very eyes. What we clearly know is that, our current response mechanisms have not been (fully) efficient to enable us stop terrorism. Because, to my understanding, we have maximized on military intervention.

Close to January 2007, the African Union Peace and Security Council created African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) with a six months mandate to flush-out terror groups in Somalia and February of the same year United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved the mission’s mandate.  Two months later, Uganda deployed the first AMISOM bunch to Mogadishu and on December of the same year, Burundi soldiers followed. Other AMISOM contributing countries later followed with Djibouti contributing on December 2011, Kenya on February 2012 and Ethiopia on the wake of 2014.

Despite the fact Al-Shabaab’s militia personnel (reportedly between 7000-9000) is far much less than that of AMISOM  and Somalia National Army combined of more than 20,000 military personnel and AMISOM has more sophisticated weapons and strategies the mission has taken longer than was anticipated.

Indeed, there is a gap that we need to fill and that is we need to pre-empt terrorism and terrorists’ plans.

Terrorist have taken advantage of two fundamental schemes that rarely sufficiently captured by our security surveillance systems due to their nature. Ideology and innovation. Terrorist use an ideological software called Jihadism, which they use to suit their interest by applying it out of its ideal context. It can spread fast, it can be stored over decades in the minds of its consumers and besides all it can keep larger terror group with the same or similar interest connected. ‘Jihadism’ has enabled terror groups to stay alive all over the entire world. It has also provide immunity cover.

Just as hackers have managed to overcome laid down internet security instruments by innovating new designs of internet viruses that can spread widely and vastly, terrorist have invented various ways to overcome being trapped by our safety measures. For instance, we have installed efficient scanners at our airports, introduced necessary additional screening levels and even created anti-terror units in our police units and still terrorism is immeasurably with us. Terrorist have proved to us that they can use household items, cars and vehicles e.t.c to attack us. For instance, in the recent Barcelona attack, 15 people lost their lives when a van was ploughed into pedestrians. On 14 July 2016 in Nice, a truck ploughed into Bastille Day revelers killed 86 people. According to UNICEF, Boko Haram used 83 children as ‘human bombs’ in Nigeria especially a child strapped to a girl to carry out attacks.

Terrorists appear to have out-competed our approaches to safeguard ourselves. This is because we do not transform our protection methodologies, policies and tactics as fast as they do. We have not pre-emptied terrorist. We rely on interventions based on experience and knowledge generated from previous attacks. We have to develop additional tactics to strengthen and complement our existing systems. If not, terrorists will continue proving to us that they can attack us in a different way than we are used to. Alternatively, they will attack us from a point we never thought about.

Common Global Focus on Terrorism

In the 19th century extreme poverty, universal basic education, gender equality and child mortality as well as mortality lead a list of eight major potential threats to our existence. Our combined efforts to respond immediately and provide sustainable progress against each of them has made our planet a better place to live in.  It is clear, based on the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015 in New York that we have considerably gained against gender equality, extreme poverty and universal primary education.

However, in our world of today terrorism poses more advanced and sophisticated risks to our safety and existence more than insufficient access to basic health care and food insecurity. Regardless of our religion affiliation, its blow has equally punched us in one way or another. It is forcing us to live in uncertainty and recurring grieve across the globe.

We have lost a lot to it and we will still do more if we do not act just as we faced the global problems outlined in our MDGs. We can only fight terrorism if we come up with common strategies, share responsibilities and face it as we did for the MGDs.

In the absence of that, it will be too late to respond when its ideology finally consumes our way of thinking and how we see each other. For now, it is only flexing its muscles.  It is designed It will take away our freedom to co-exist. At the end we will see each other as enemies, we will not respect the very social borders that teach us how to impress each other and it is teaching us not to respect the social norms and limits that definitely tell us not to infringe on one another’s right. Besides the collective call to act as soon as possible, we need to be more vigilant, go ahead of them and in advance discover potential tactics they may come up with. This will give us an opportunity to see ahead of them and prepare accordingly, neutralize their plans, mitigate the unfortunate consequences we face each day.

Billow Abdi Hassan is the founder and Managing Director of CentRep Ltd and a Food Security and Social Development Researcher. You can reach him on or visit their site


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