NISA convenes second workshop on screening disengaged al-Shabaab combatants in Mogadishu
Mogadishu - A two-day workshop aimed at reviewing standard operating procedures and building the capacity of Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) for screening ex Al-Shabaab combatants ended today.
The workshop was attended by NISA officers drawn from all of the country’s federal member states. It discussed various ways of combating terrorism and ensuring that disengaged al-Shabaab combatants who want to be reintegrated into communities receive the support they require.
Speaking during the opening ceremony on Tuesday, the NISA Deputy Director Col. Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur welcomed the training workshop, which followed up on a similar workshop held late last year that developed standard operating procedures for screening disengaged combatants.
“This is a very important program and the government has given special priority to peace-building in this country. As much as the use of bullets can be employed in stability, peaceful channels can achieve much needed results. These peaceful settlements can be achieved through dialogue and forgiveness,” he said. To help achieve that objective, Col. Nur noted the government’s pledge to pardon al-Shabaab militants who surrender and also assist them to reintegrate into society.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Police Commissioner Christoph Buik said security agencies like NISA were the pillar of the program as they deal directly with ex-combatants who decide to defect.
“You’re doing the screening. You will decide about the future of the ex-combatants coming from Al-Shabaab, what they will do and how they can be integrated into the society in Somalia again. This is a huge responsibility,” said UNSOM Police Commissioner Buik.
Abdirashid Ibrahim Mohamed, the Director of the Defectors Rehabilitation Program in the federal Ministry of Internal Security, explained procedures for the processing of ex-combatants.
“After the disengaged combatants go through the screening process, NISA will determine whether they are high risk or low risk. The high-risk disengaged combatants will go through the judicial process. If the disengaged combatants are low risk, they will go through a rehabilitation programme at transitional centres in order to be reintegrated into society,” Mr. Mohamed said.
The NISA Commander for the Disengaged Combatants, Maj. Abdifatah Sayid Ahmed, said the training involved the harmonizing of the screening process with the risk assessment of al-Shabaab disengaged combatants in order to identify those who pose minimal risks. This category will include ex-combatants who were forced into joining the militant group.
The workshop was supported by the UNSOM Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration unit and facilitated by the Bonn International Center for Conversion.
The standardized screening process is modelled on the system used in Australia, the Netherlands, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. The reintegration of disengaged combatants is an important process in building sustainable security and durable peace in Somalia.
The governments of Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom are currently supporting the Federal Government of Somalia in implementing the National Programme for disengaged combatants.