National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has joined the world in condemning Al Shabaab for being enemies of progress to the horn of African Country. In their annual report focusing on the progress of Somali, NUSOJ has given more prominence on security and social structure of Somalia. The report has also focused on the economic, social and religious factors that affect Somalia’s growth and development.
During a media brief in Somali’s capital Mogadishu, Mahir Jama the President of NUSOJ expressed his grief in the cynicism Somalia is facing due to terrorism. Somalia, a country with the longest coastline in Africa, and rich in minerals could be among the leading economies in Africa if it were not for political instability and terrorism.
The report has comprehensively highlighted how Somali has been affected economically by Al Shabaab’s activities. The once booming tourism sector, which contributed to more than 25% of the country’s GDP no longer exist. Pirates have scared away tourists and investors along the coast.Pirates regularly hijack cruiser ships and demand for ransom. These illegally acquired monies are plunged back into the Somali economy, which leads to inflation. The effect has been dire on the Somali currency, which at some point was very stable against the US dollar.
According to the report, foreign investors shy away from the horn of African country opting to invest in the more stable Kenya and Tanzania, whose economies keeps on booming steadily. As a result, most of the youth lack stable jobs, which leads to poverty, crime and most young men migrating illegally to foreign countries to look for employment opportunities. Somalia remains behind due to lack of manpower.
Regular bombing of the major cities including the capital city Mogadishu has led to the retarded growth of the country. Mass destruction of infrastructure scares away investors who would otherwise have pumped a lot of money in the economy.
Lack of reliable security in Somalia is a major blow for socio-economic development. According to NUSOJ, very little can be achieved in a lawless and insecure country. The term Islam in itself means peace, which is a contrast of what Al Shabaab propagates. They spread fear and intimidation across boarder.
The report indicates that Somali could be a failed state if it were not for the intervention of the AMISOM. Al Shabaab has been a major threat to the Somali people from the grassroots to the government. Mahir points out that the Somali people are more likely to be murdered by the terrorists than dying of a natural course. The militia group has devised their own laws terming them Sharia to suit their own malicious agenda. In the report, the suspects are given unfair trial and they are rarely given a chance to defend themselves. Suspects are tortured and hurried tried after forcefully compelled to plead guilty to the charges. In most cases, suspected are sentenced to death, which is carried out in public.
Somali residents cannot freely move from one point to another to trade. Al Shabaab stages lots of ambushes on the road where they kidnap people or spray bullets on them. This has forced the government to emboss curfews from time to time to help in maintaining law and order.
Muslims across the world have been negatively been affected by terrorism especially in the social world. In their report, NUSOJ have indicated that Al Shabaab has masqueraded as Muslims to get a religious support. This has paints Muslims in a bad picture as it portrays their religion in a bad way. Misuse of Islamic terminologies like Allah Akbar before carrying out terrorist acts like beheadings and bombing places has made Islam be associated with terrorism.
Islam phobia is a challenge Muslims are facing from other religions, which makes them feel secluded from the society. Sometimes while attacking innocent people, Al Shabaab separates Muslims from none Muslims, after which they kill none Muslims and spare the Muslims. Muslims who defend none Muslims are considered enemies and in most cases they face the same fate.
Somalia’s level of illiteracy is very high due to lack of a conducive environment to learn. Children no longer attend schools due to lack of security, lack of schools and teachers. The militias attack schools from time to time destroying infrastructure or even sometimes kill teachers and students. Somalia is unable to outsource personal from across the world due to fear of being kidnaped or killed in the hands of the militias. The report blames Al Shabaab for scaring away experts who would help the country in a diverse way.
Accessing medication and especially emergency services is not easy in the country. Tracks ferrying medicine and other humanitarian aids are regularly attacked by the militias who loot the goods and later sell the to the locals. Malnutrition has affected most children in Somalia, which leads to high child mortality rate. The sick are not able to access hospitals due to insecurity, while the militants have destroyed some of the hospitals. The health sector lacks enough doctors and the few available are forced to join Al Shabaab to treat in case of an attack.
The report however applauded the AMISOM for the good job they are doing in Somalia to ensure that Somalia rise again. In particular Kenya Defense Forces were lauded for the regular CIMIC initiatives which go a long way in helping the residents’ access basic human needs. Mahir Jama assured the country and by large the world that as journalist, they will join hands with the world to fight terrorism by reporting objectively and authoritatively on issues that affect Somalia.