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What’s Next For Kismayo and Somalia?

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Kenya and Somalia have been in a state of terror for the past few years due to the longtime battle between the Somali and Kenyan government and the rebel group al-Shabab. But the end of last month marked the end of the bloody conflict with the Somali and Kenyan army successfully entering the port of Kismayo in the south of Somalia and driving the al-Shabab out of power in the area. Despite this, Somalia and Kenya are now faced with challenges to get everything in order in the aftermath of war.

The al-Shabab group was formerly known as the Islamic Courts Union or ICU. The group used to control the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and other areas of Somalia in 2006. With the growing conflict of political groups in the country, al-Shabab resorted to violent attacks against their enemies. As years went by, the group took extreme measures to ensure their power over others as they organized attacks and raids on Somali’s neighbors, namely Ethiopia in 2006. They have been on the run from neighboring armies, including the Kenyan army, ever since their reign of terror started.

In 2011, the Somali and Kenyan governments had enough. Both the governments’ militaries, as well as the AMISOM, or the Armed Forces of the African Union, joined together to oust the rebellious al-Shabab from power over parts of Somalia. Last month, the Somali and Kenyan armies successfully captured the group’s last area of control, the port of Kismayo, through a series of air, sea, and ground attacks on armed members and bases of al-Shabab.

Despite a victorious win, Somalia, as well as Kenya, will now have to focus on their security and be on high alert, especially in Kismayo, for revenge attacks of vengeful leaders and members of al-Shabab who were able to escape to their hidden bases in Somalia and in neighboring countries. This will prove as a big challenge for Somalia’s newly-elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as time passes by, giving more opportunity and time for the rebel group to plan and act on their revenge.

Not only is Somalia dealing with al-Shabab, but also with other extremist groups such as the Salafi and the Wahabi that still have a stronghold on the country’s economy. Under a new, more democratic government, Somalia will hopefully be able to transform Somali society and centralize political power in the country to avoid more violence and conflict to arise in the future.

Aside from Somalia’s current problems on security due to rebel groups, the new government will also have to deal with other problems the country and its people have been facing for decades, especially issues on corruption, poverty, unemployment, poor health and welfare services. Development and sustainability will hopefully be the new trend in Somalia.