Somali army should use Ma’awisley to destroy al Shabab


Somali national army forces [SNA], along with Ma’awisley, a self-styled militia group, have gained significant ground since the country’s president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced that his government would launch a “total war” against al-Qaida-affiliated militant group al-Shabab last month.

The new military offensive operation was the first of its kind in five years and has resulted in a crushing defeat of Al-Shabaab militants, who lost hundreds of fighters and the control of key towns in south and central Somalia.


When was this new military operation started?

In a televised speech on Tuesday, August 24, 2022, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared that his government would launch “an all-out-war” against al Shabab – an al Qaeda – linked group in the horn of African nation days after the group carried out a deadly gun and bomb attack Hayat hotel in the heart of the capital Mogadishu.

At least 21 people were killed and more than 100 others were wounded by al Shabab gunmen in the hotel attack. It was the first hotel siege in Mogadishu since Hassan Sheikh was elected as the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia on May 15 in this year.

In his speech, President Mohamud said that it is time to come together to defeat the enemy.

His remarks were made after he held talks with the country’s Security Council to discuss the latest attack on Hotel Hayat in the capital Mogadishu.


Who is Ma’awisley?

Ma’awisley derived from Ma’awis, a man’s wrap and traditional clothes in Somalia. Ma’awiley is self-armed, self-organized, and self-funded. The group never received any military support from Somali government or any other entity and only uses light personal rifles in their fight against al Shabab – an al Qaeda – linked group.


Why is Ma’awisley fighting against al Shabab?

When their homes were burned to ashes, their boreholes were destroyed with explosions by al Shabab, Ma’awisley re-emerged with strength and determination. They are fighting to protect their families, lives, property, and dignity from al Shabab.

They already defeated the militants in many battles took place in central Somalia.

Macawisleey has been using guerrilla-style attacks on Al Shabab checkpoints, the same style al Shabab used against Somali army and African Union peacekeeping forces in Somalia.


Ma’awisley can be used to destroy al Shabab

The Federal Government of Somali must not hesitate to assist Ma’awisley who stoop up to defend their livelihoods.

The government should understand that Macawisleey are just simply ordinary citizens who are forced to take up arms after an al Shabab oppression. They help the military forces crush al Shabab and take over those towns under the control of militants.

What do you expect from men who were taken from everything they had to survive, amid a severe drought that put half of the country’s population in need of food assistance?

Al Shabab did this to them and the only option men like Ma’awisley have is to fight back. They are so eager to resume their normal lives once they are free from the scourge of al-Shabaab.

I know there are concerns that they might turn against the government once al Shabab is eradicated but the fact is that men like Ma’awisley would not pose any threat to Somalia’s national security because they are merely defending themselves from a group out to end their lives

With support of the Macawisleey, Somali army had successfully undermined the militant group’s strength by sabotaging supply lines and force them lay down their weapons following weeks of operation in areas near Bulo-burde town.

Somali government started to provide bullets to Ma’awisley so they continue fighting alongside the military forces and this was resulted in a crushing defeat of Al-Shabaab militants in parts of Hiran region in central Somalia.

Ma’awisley is the only missile Somalia can use to destroy al Shabab – an al Qaeda – linked group that has put a misery on every citizen in Somalia.


Written by Abdishakur Alasow Mohamud, The first Secretary of Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Somalia to the United Nations.