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Insecurity has greatly undermined the development of Galgadud region specifically in Abudwak town. Militia men who are accustomed to killing and looting the property of innocent people have wreaked havoc in the area which is under the control of the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaa (ASWJ) militia. Somalia Report interviewed Hassan Abudwak who is the ASWJ chairman in Abudwak.
Tell us about the general security of this region, particularly Abudwak town?
The region is stable and secure despite the fact that there are some militia men trying to cause havoc. We are after them and we will capture them very soon.
Who are these militia men and what do they do to the people?
They are men who hail from the region and are intent on promoting their selfish interests by killing and looting. We shall not ignore what they are doing at all costs.
What tangible measures have you taken to curb the insecurity incidents so far?
We have already restored law and order in some areas they looted and our armies are vigilant and ready to handle any future incident if they try to terrify the people.
Who give orders to the militia men and where do the go after looting?
Although we do not know where orders are issued to them our investigations are underway to unearth all these facts. There must be some one behind the heightened insecurity.
What assurance can you give to the people regarding the measures you have taken to ensure their security and safety?
I want to make it clear that maintaining security is a collective responsibility, so I urge the people to share information on suspicious elements. I promise that we shall take appropriate action against all elements o insecurity. I encourage the public to play their role as required.
Are your forces capable of defending the entire region from al-Shabaab?
It is obvious that we are capable and have proved it. We shall never accept al-Shabaab to take over the region once again.
Is it possible for ASWJ to negotiate with these militia's leaders for a lasting solution?
We don’t negotiate with thugs and criminals who are terrorizing the residents in the area. We advise them to desist from such action so that we can rehabilitate them and guide them towards a life that is free of crime.
Do the militia men carry out their activities during the day time or at night?
They operate mostly at night. As the ASWJ, we assure the public that these incidents will not occuer in future. We plan on re-inforcing our troops so that they can deal with these militia men as soon as possible.
Have you discussed the issue of rising insecurity with the local entrepreneurs? If so, what have you agreed on?
We consulted with business owners to discuss the way forward. We agreed to cooperate and eliminate the militia since they are a threat to the economy of the region.
Will the business community provide financial contribution to the initiative to maintain law and order?
No. It is our responsibility to ensure security but we have agreed that they play their role in working for the common interest of the region. We only sought their physical cooperation but not financial support.
Is it possible that al-Shabaab is behind the operations of the criminal militia group?
No, I don’t believe that because we chased al-Shabaab and none of their members are within Abudwak town and its environs. They are just local militia men who want to earn a living out of crime and they are hiding in the town. We shall soon land on them and capture them one by one.
There have been recent clashes between ASWJ and al-Shabaab in El-Bur district of Galgadud region. What can you tell us about this?
It is true that the clashes occurred and we defeated the al-Qaeda backed militia group and we killed several of them. They disappeared into the jungles but our forces will not stop chasing after them.
Does al-Shabaab have enough power in Galgadud?
No. We have definitely weakened them and I can assure you they are fighting a battle that they will lose. They have now changed their tactic of war into hit and run attacks which I can say is cowardice instead of direct confrontation.
Where do you think the solution for Somali nation lies?
I think we now have a chance to build a stable government free from al-Shabaab and their associates. I urge all Somali citizens to make use of this opportunity and establish a government with a solid base free from nepotism, tribalism and corruption.
I encourage the people of Abudwak to respect the laws of the land and obey the regulations imposed by ASWJ which safeguards them and their livelihoods. I also encourage them to work with our security forces and obey if a curfew is imposed in the town so as to hunt down the criminals who create insecurity in the area.