The role of the military in counterterrorism measures in The Horn of Africa region: a case of Somalia Defense Forces.
Hussein, Abdirashid Mohamed
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The rise in terror attacks in many regions across the globe has caused national defense forces to rethink their tactics and strategies in the fight against terrorism. Somalia has been listed as a terror prone state because of among other factors the presence of the Al Shabaab terror group and the presence of a minimally functional and well established government system. This study sought to examine the role of the military in counterterrorism measures in Somalia. The specific objectives anchoring the study were: to determine the extent of training of the military to carry out counterterrorism efforts in Somalia, to examine the utility of the military in counterterrorism efforts in Somalia and to explore the domestic contextual problems arising from the military’s involvement in counterterrorism in Somalia. The study was guided by the Clausewitz’s war theory and the counterinsurgency theory developed by David Galula. The study targeted military officers from Somalia’s Defense Forces, cutting across the different ranks and adult residents from Mogadishu’s Hodan district. The total target population was 135348, comprising of 21,000 military officers and 114,348 civilians. From this target population, a sample size of 204. The sample was obtained using purposive and stratified simple random sampling. A descriptive research design, that incorporated qualitative and quantitative approaches was used to guide the study. Statistical data obtained from the questionnaires administered on the respondents was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The content of the qualitative data was organized into themes and analyzed to answer the study questions. The data collection exercise registered a response rate of 95%. In terms of extent of training, the results of the study revealed that the military officers received regular training, with 84% indicating that they were receiving the training every three months. Instructively, 92% of the respondents indicated that the training received didn’t equip them well for the dynamics of countering terrorism by a known yet invisible enemy. Results also showed that the utility of the military had a low potential 93% in as far as counter terrorism was concerned. A further 93% of the respondents indicated that contextual problems such as some military officers and civilians losing lives were common, and they have had to endure the trauma. A p value of 0.000 after testing the hypothesis led to a rejection of the null hypothesis. The study concluded that the nature of training offered to the military officers was not helping them much in their counter terrorism roles and this calls for the policy makers within the military to reconsider their training curricular to equip the military with the necessary skill set for counter terrorism. This will allow the military reduce fatalities and better protect civilians losing their lives to terrorism. The study thus recommends a review of the training given to the Somalia defense forces to better equip them for counter terrorism, and especially in a domestic context where the terrorists are home grown and understand the dynamics and terrain in more or less the same manner as the military. The study suggests further research on preparedness of the Somali Defense Forces with a focus on the laws governing warfare, the possibility of devising a multiagency approach in the fight against terrorism.
Africa Nazarene University