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Security Situation in Somalia Improving Despite New Risks: Survey

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Led by the radical al-Shabaab insurgence, Somalia's capital Mogadishu is experiencing improved security, despite new sources of insecurity ranging from suicide attacks, hand-grenade attacks, targeted killings, and land disputes, the Somalia-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies reported in their September newsletter.

MOSCOW, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - Led by the radical al-Shabaab insurgence, Somalia's capital Mogadishu is experiencing improved security, despite new sources of insecurity ranging from suicide attacks, hand-grenade attacks, targeted killings, and land disputes, the Somalia-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies reported in their September newsletter.

"Asked how safe they feel this year compared to last, the majority of respondents reported that they feel generally safer," stated the report, adding that residents reported a general decline of open hostilities either between clans or provoked by the al-Shabaab group, opposed to the government.

However, residents were deeply concerned about regular suicide attacks, assassinations and robbery by armed groups, the report stated.

In zones, where clan tension was high, such as the Waliyow Adde zone, the residents experienced sexual harassment, mugging, and extortion, while many killings targeted government officials.

The report cited unemployment as the key reason for the rise in insecurity. The youth easily gave into joining the al-Shabaab, either as combatants or informants to earn their living. These leads to a vicious cycle as insecure areas have less economic activity and in turn less employment available.

Residents also expressed mistrust for the government's ability to protect the civilians.

"We see men with military uniform, committing crimes, we doubt that they are [still] part of the government army," one of the residents was quoted saying in the Heritage report.

The residents complained about not only the police force, but also the National Intelligence and Security Agency, the Somali National Armed Forces, and the African Union Mission in Somalia.

In turn with this, out of 1,664 people across Mogadishu's 17 districts who were surveyed, 66 percent in the eastern zone chose traditional elders as their preferred security provider while only 13 percent trusting courts to resolve disputes.

"How can you expect justice from a judge, who has outstanding water, electricity and rent bills," one other resident was quoted saying.

In March 2014 the former chairman of the Somali armed forces' military court, Gen. Hassan Mohamed Hussein 'Muungaab', was appointed Mayor of Mogadishu with the immediate priority of tackling on-going insecurity in the city, but Mogadishu remains among the most dangerous cities in the world.

"An approach must be multi-pronged, addressing each of the challenges of resources, capacity, and legitimacy," recommended the report, adding that the allocation of greater resources and strengthening of internal would not be sufficient if the clan-based issues were not addressed.

The Heritage Institute therefore recommended bringing elders back into positions of authority.

The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies analysis was based on an extensive study, conducted in Mogadishu between February 26 and March 24 this year, by the Observatory of Conflict and Violence Prevention (OCVP).

Tags:
al-Shabaab, army, conflict zone, security, Somalia
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