Somalia 'should be enjoying its own Arab spring'

2012-02-22 11:28
London - Somalia should be enjoying an Arab Spring of its own but its al-Shabaab insurgents are fomenting jihad both in and out of the country, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday.

Speaking on the eve of an international conference on Somalia being held in London, Cameron said the terror threat emanating from the Horn of Africa country "if we are not careful, could get worse".

World powers gather in London on Thursday for the conference, with recent glimmers of hope overshadowed by a litany of woes including al-Qaeda-linked militants, piracy and famine.

"Al-Shabaab has just taken the step of linking itself specifically with al-Qaeda: that is a desperately backward step," Cameron told the BBC's Somali service.

"Clearly there are young people who take up arms in Somalia. We need to say to those people, 'don't do that, give up that path.' You are joining an organisation that is now an international terrorist organisation.

"Instead, let us give this country and its young people the hope of a job and a voice.

"We could see it all across north Africa, the prospects of an Arab Spring, where people actually start to have more of a say in their country and how it's run, and that should be the case in Somalia as well as in the Arab world."

A British fighter with Al-Shabaab was killed last month during a drone attack in the capital Mogadishu. The Royal United Services Institute think-tank estimates that around 50 Britons are among their ranks.

Terrorist threat

Speaking of the danger posed by al-Shabaab, Cameron said: "The security threat is real; it is substantial."

Al-Shabaab "encourages violent jihad not just in Somalia but also outside Somalia.

"And there is a very real danger of young British Somalis having their minds poisoned by this organisation. So there is a terrorist threat that is current today, and if we are not careful, could get worse."

Meanwhile Oxfam, the British-based aid and development agency, called on the conference participants to meet immediate needs rather than focusing on anti-terror concerns.

In its report entitled "A Shift in Focus - Putting the Interests of Somali People First", the non-governmental organisation said state-building and military interventions had been exacerbating the country's humanitarian crisis.

"It is time for a new vision of engagement that meets Somalis' immediate and future needs, while providing the space for a negotiated peace process that puts Somalia on the road to recovery," said Oxfam chief executive Barbara Stocking.

"Those attending the London Somalia conference must seize this opportunity and help start the process to address the causes of the conflict in Somalia and put the interests and aspirations of the Somali people centre stage."

Read more on:    david cameron  |  somalia  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.