Assessing the Social Tools of Conflict Resolution in Somalia: The Unexplored Role of Somali Clan System

Authors : Major General George R A Owinow; Lieutenant Colonel John Kisilu Reuben

Volume/Issue : Volume 6 - 2021, Issue 5 - May

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This paper explores the possibility of using the Somali clan system to counter religious extremism which is currently manifested in the name of Al Shabaab. The paper notes that, the clan is the only known entity in Somalia which had succeeded in forcing Al Shabaab to negotiate for entry into the Somali community. To gain entry and acceptance into the Somali society, the religious extremist groups had to align their agenda with Somali culture. The Somali culture took precedence in case their was a contradiction in the precepts propagated by the extremist groups. This paper alludes to the fact that the clan structure is revered by both the somali population, political players as well as Al Shabaab in equal measure. Clan elders wield a legitimate authority over their clans. They can enter into an agreement on behalf of the clan, consequently commiting the clan members into a particular course. Fighters who are in Al Shabaab owe unshakable allegiance to their clans. Incase the clan severs ties with Al Shabaab, all the fighters in Al Shabaab belonging to the clan, defect back to the clan. Clans had played a role in negotiating for release of foreign aid workers captured by Al Shabaab, had negotiated for passage of humanitarian aid into areas controlled by Al Shabaab, the clans had proved capable of protecting their high level defectors from Al Shabaab and within the clan itself, the clan had managed to raise and fund clan militia to provide security for its members in the absence of government security apparatus. This paper proposes the consideration to view Somali clannism positively and as an opportunity which can be utilized in order to defeat the religious extremism and ultimately resolve the protracted Somalia conflict. It is significant to note that the continuous clan feuds witnessed are as a result of individuals of the same subclan fighting for political leadership. Some clan leaders practice clan leverage to enhance their political power and wealth. It is pure clan politicization which was used by Siad Barre to rule.

Keywords : Clans, Religious Extremism, Al Shabaab, Negotiations


Paper Submission Last Date
30 - September - 2021

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