UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon was asked Monday 29th March about the organisation’s plans for going forward in lawless Somalia. The UN has been involved directly in Somalia since deposing the Islamic Court Union (ICU) along with Ethiopian military assistance in 2006.
The UN scribe responded by stating that they are working closely with and backing the interim government of Sharif Sheikh on a strategy to battle the chaos in Somalia. The country is currently wracked by fighting between the government and several Islamic and other militias. The largest and most formidable of these groups is Al-Shabab (Arabic for ‘The Youth’), a well-organised and armed force that developed from a vigilante organisation, to the military unit of the ICU, to their current manifestation.
It is still unclear who is funding the organisation, although their degree of organisation suggests sophisticated backers with deep pockets – some implicate the state of Eritrea, or unknown Arab nations. Mr Ban was himself unable to respond to the question of the insurgent group’s source of funding when pressed.
However, the faction is fairly clear on what they want, however, which is to implement its own strict interpretation of Sharia law in Somalia. For their efforts, the group has found their way onto the USA’s list of ‘terrorist organisations’. It is thought that many of the members were in fact trained in Afghanistan, subsequently developing the group along the lines of the Taliban. It is feared that they have also had some success in recruiting Western nationals to fight in their war.
The UN and its allies are working together to maintain a semblance of stability in governing Somalia, however the situation on the ground and as described by experts is that this is not working. Conditions in the country are appalling and the local population is largely in the firing line. To end the conflict, it seems whoever’ or which ever country or countries backing Al-Shabab must be found, exposed and stopped.