Three days after the tragedy of the Hayat hotel terror attack which killed more than 21 people and injured more than a hundred, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud broke his silence.
Earlier in the day, he had chaired a meeting of the Security Council which includes the heads of the security services as well as the ministers concerned with public security.
In his speech this evening, read through a teleprompter, the President focused on security, particularly the horrors of Al-Shabab, which carried out two consecutive nights of attacks and explosions in Mogadishu, and he promised to eradicate Al-Shabab.
Prepare for an all-out war against Al-Shabab
The President also spoke of ongoing operations in the regions and said that his government is bringing together means to make them successful.
“We are determined to eradicate terrorism, which is a problem for our people, until they are liberated from all the areas they hold. Preparations to put this plan into effect are underway. the first priority of my government,” said President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
President Hassan Sheikh said he is well aware of the suffering Al-Shabab has caused the people of Somalia including fear, robbery, killing and isolation. He promised that his government would put an end to all this soon.
“Somali people, I know you are tired of the constant grief and mourning. I know that in every terrorist attack you lose a loved one. Therefore, I ask you to prepare for an all-out war against the ruthless people who are against our peace and our government,” the president added.
What did the Somali public say about the president’s address
The president and his prime minister had remained silent in recent weeks on the upsurge in attacks in Somalia’s southwestern region and particularly in the capital. The Somali public is unmoved by his belated empathy but remains wary of President Mohamud’s intentions.
In a video that still sickens the public, while on an official visit to Kenya during his first term, the president said hearing of a terrorist attack in Nairobi pains him more than a similar attack in Mogadishu because, he added with a smile, terrorist attacks are normal in Somalia.
Reactions of the Somali public
First of all, the Somali public does not need a diversion. They want answers about the failure of the operation.
Second, before committing a demoralized army and police, the public wants to see the president use the means already at his disposal. In his speech in Ankara last month, the president made it clear that he was tackling the financing of terrorism. Then in Eritrea, he promised to bring back the 5,000 highly-trained Somali soldiers.
Third, for the Somali public, the president lacks seriousness and cannot talk about fighting Al-Shabab when he has entrusted the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) to Mahad Salad, a tumultuous man accused of being part of the terror group.
Fourth, many people also believe that President Mohamud is unfit to lead the country and are calling for his resignation. Because of his preference to surround himself with relatives and unqualified ideological friends, security has deteriorated since he came to power.
If president @HassanSMohamud is serious about combating #Alshabaab #Terrorists, he should remove @mahadsalad from #NISA and replace him with experienced professional to lead the Security agency. He should also inspire the masses and ask for their forgiveness. #HayatHotelAttack
— LasAnodNative🇺🇸🇸🇴 (@LaaskaSool) August 23, 2022
Finally, some believe that, for the help he received from foreign troops and diplomats in Somalia to accede to power, President Mohamud has indicated during his trip to Uganda that he would seek to maintain African troops (ATMIS) beyond their exit date at the end of 2023.