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AU trains Somali youths to counter violent extremism

Monday August 20, 2018

Somali government forces secure the scene of a car bomb claimed by al-Shabaab militants outside the president's palace in Mogadishu (30 August 2016). (GALLO IMAGES/REUTERS)

MOGADISHU, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said on Monday said that it has wrapped up a two-day training for Somali youth to partner with security institutions to deter crime and counter violent extremism in the country.

Simon Mulongo, Deputy AU Special Representative for Somalia, said the sensitization workshop that sought more youth involvement in community policing initiatives concluded in Mogadishu on Sunday, with a call on youths to work more closely with police officers to counter violent extremism.

"Anybody who uses dangerous means becomes an outcast, a wrong person in society and therefore the people of Somalia, like elsewhere, must reject violence, extremism as a means of managing society," Mulongo said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

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The AU official who closed the meeting said AMISOM Police working in collaboration with the Somali security forces, the government and the Federal Member States, is holding a series of sensitization workshops and engagements across the country, to encourage such partnerships.

He challenged the youths to take the lead in countering violent extremism, which he noted had been exploited by terrorist groups to cause instability in the country.

Mulongo urged the youth to beware of unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of their innocence to mislead them into extremism.

The Somali youth participants were taken through a number of topics on the causes and effects of violent extremism.

Christine Alalo, acting AMISOM Police Commissioner, appealed to the youth to share information with the local police in their communities.

"We had similar sessions with the Somali Police, specifically on community policing, which we think is one of the approaches or tools that we can use to counter or prevent violence or crime in the community," said Alalo.

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