Al -Shabaab’s suicide bomb attack in Mogadishu last week killed several innocent civilians, signalled the terrorist group’s continued presence in the Somali capital, and indirectly issued a challenge to the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) as well as the Kenyan forces that have been chasing it in the past few months.
Several commentators around the world have described last week’s attack in Mogadishu, in addition to recent sporadic incidents in various parts of Kenya, as the desperate efforts of a group that is split and is facing pressure from different angles.
It is true that Al-Shabaab, which does not have deep roots in the Somali society, has faced great pressure from Kenyan and Amisom forces in the past few months, but any attempt to write off a group like this could be premature.
It is important for policy makers in the Horn of Africa, the Western world and elsewhere to view Al- Shabaab and the problem of piracy off the Somali coast, which is not necessarily due to Al- Shabaab, as manifestations of the failure of governance institutions in Somalia.
It is the high time we acknowledged that in Somalia, as elsewhere in Africa, terrorism is intimately linked to poor governance or the lack of governance. Without a sustainable governance structure, including law enforcement agencies, such as police and intelligence services, terrorism cannot be prevented.