Prime Minister sets out Government steps to address threat of terrorism

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Addis Ababa, 26 February 2014 (WIC) - The Prime Minister of the Somali Federal Government H.E. Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed today laid out during a press conference his administration’s plan in the wake of the recent attack on the presidential compound by the terrorist group al-Shabaab on Friday, February 21, 2014.

In his press conference, Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed sent a message of condolence to the families of the victims of the Friday attack. The innocent lives lost in the attack included the Permanent Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister Mohamud Hirsi “Indha-ase” and General Nur Shirbow.

The Prime Minister said: “I condemned the loss of innocent lives at the hands of these terrorists.

These terrorists have no Islamic basis for their indiscriminate violence, which led to the death of worshippers who were attending Fridayprayers in a mosque on the presidential compound. Although the terrorists caused the deaths of innocent people, they did not achieve their ultimate goal of causing maximum casualties thanks to the quick and brave response of the Somali soldiers who eliminated them”.

Prime Minister Ahmed outlined steps the government is taking to address the threat of terrorism in the country in the wake of the terrorist attack. Prime Minister Ahmed outlined the following:

1. The government will conduct an in-depth investigation into the events of the attack to determine what happened, how it happened, who was behind it and the immediate response to the attack. An investigative committee consisting of ministers and experts has been commissioned for the task. Anyone implicated in aiding the terrorists will face justice.

2. The government has established a task force to work on security at the district level. It includes members from the Council of Ministers, parliament, civil society groups, district administrations, the business community, police, intelligence, religious leaders, women’s groups and youth. This is part of an effort to create real collaboration between the government and the public, which is essential to ensuring security and stability within local communities.

3. A committee will be established to assess the strength and performance of security agencies, including the intelligence, the police and the military. The aim of this committee is to issue recommendations on enhancing the readiness, responsiveness and effectiveness of the national security agencies.

4. The administration is working on draft anti-terrorism laws to be presented to parliament. These laws will provide law enforcement agencies with the necessary tools to deal effectively with terrorist groups and those who support and aid them.

Prime Minister Ahmed stressed his government’s commitment to swiftly implement the recommendations of these committees, saying: “Immediate action will be taken in Mogadishu and beyond to dismantle terrorist networks and prevent future attacks.

I call on the public to work with us and assist the security agencies in their efforts to ensure security by alerting the appropriate agencies of any suspicious activities. Religious leaders also have a key responsibility to educate the public on the dangers of terrorism and that it is against the teachings of Islam to take innocent lives.

“I praise the heroic acts of the soldiers and staff who put their own lives at risk to save and come to the aid of their fellow citizens in the mosque during Friday’s attack. My government is working on appropriate recognition for these national heroes.

“Let me say again the harm that Al-Shabaab is causing our great nation and our innocent people, we must all join together as through collective action we will eliminate this terrorist group.” (AMISOM - MO.)

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