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The two-decade-old civil war in Somalia that have taken countless lives of civilians left many youths to grow up in a single-parent household. This led to the absence of sufficient care as the only parent they have had was the sole breadwinner of their families who could hardly get a chance to spend quality time with their children. Apparently, a vast majority of Somalia’s men and women in the uniform were born throughout the chaos period. Thus, most of the Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers are disadvantaged youths who had not the privilege to go school in their childhood at all or they dropped out in their primary school due to financial or security challenges.

In fact, the current army was not recruited on merit basis rather they have been former clan militias, Alshabab capitulates and robbers, however, they mostly joined the army between 2006 and 2012, and most of them fought against each other one way or the other, therefore, the question why they joined the government army is not because of feeling sense of responsibility for serving their country to make it a safer place but to get a safeguard and immunity for their past crimes that mainly left murdering innocents, maiming, raping and robbing, and presumably to gain some incentives to manage their daily drug consumption notably the Khat. These young men in the army who are mostly suffering from mental and physical illness had never got through medical, psychological and physical examinations. They barely read and write and never received personal and professional development skills.

This type of soldiers work as a henchman for higher rank government officials and politicians, the main reason is that this type of soldier is highly stressed out and on alert, he fears more than his employer and shoots anyone he suspects without further analyses. Drawing such an armed man on the mind, no one will get shocked whatever story they hear from Somalia.

Logically, the men that Somali government arms are those supposed to keep the weapon out of their reach. For instance, on April 7, 2014, two officers working for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), were cruelly shot to death in an attack by a pathetic soldier in Puntland, Somalia after they had only just disembarked from their flight from Hargeisa and were about to go through immigration at Galkayo airport. However, the Puntland State officially declared that the killer was its soldier who was suffering a mental disorder. The poor misjudgment and misbehavior of Somalia’s men in the uniform resulted in losing hundreds of innocent lives and even their colleagues in some cases.

Most recently, Somalia lost the Minister of Housing and Public Works Abbass Abdullahi Siraji and killed by a soldier who was among the henchmen of the Nation’s Auditor General, Nour Farah Jim’alle, the killer suspected the Minister’s car and shot the driver who was the Minister himself.

Nevertheless, how long the Somali government would keep these people armed? The government should take consideration into this horrifying dilemma and initiate new specially-crafted Army Unit for securing the safety of the top officials, a unit that has its own chain of command and accommodation facilities. This will tighten and set a foothold for not only a new responsive safety and security system but also responsible personnel who knows their duty and protocols. In simple way to implement this notion is to enrich the current Presidential Guard by providing advanced training its young and healthy members and recruiting more if needed on merit basis. Then, this unit could be responsible for the safeguarding and transportation facilities of ministers, members of the parliament and the national palaces.

By Abdikadir H. Dooy


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