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Somalia vows not to provide hiding place for extremism

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Somali Republic, addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

Saturday, September 27, 2014

UNITED NATIONS -- Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Friday reaffirmed his country's commitment not to allowing any hiding place for extremist ideology.

"Somalia must be strengthened to prevent the African continent from again being invaded by violent extremists, who target innocent civilians, spreading their ideology of death," Mohamud said in an address at the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly.

Al Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab must not be defeated only for other extremist groups, such as the Islamic State, to find fertile ground, Mohamud said, pledging to build a country free from the haunt of extremists.

"We must strengthen Somalia as a firewall: both security-wise and ideologically," said the president, adding that his country is strategically located as a gateway between the Arabian Peninsula and the African continent.

The Somali government and African Union peacekeeping forces have recently launched a major offensive to retake areas still under Al-Shabaab control in south and center of the country.

The Somali government has pledged to intensify the fight against Al-Shabaab and made the Horn of Africa nation free of militants by 2015, paving the way for the 2016 elections when the tenure of the current government ends.


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