Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” has offered amnesty to al-Shabaab fighters in a change of tact in the fight against Islamist extremism in the country.
President Farmajo announced a 60-day period for the militants to surrender in exchange for education, training and employment.
“ I extend a message of amnesty to youth…, Al-Shabaab told them wrong things about this country and our religion. They must return and come to us and we will welcome them with open hands, will give them education and job opportunities,” the president said.
The amnesty comes just a day after a suicide attack near a government building in the capital Mogadishu that killed seven people.
Terrorist attacks have increased in the Horn of Africa as the al-Qaeda affiliated group continues its quest to topple the government and institute a strict Islamist rule there.
The African Union, through the deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has pegged the militants back over recent years, forcing them into little hideouts in a quest to crash the terror group.
President Farmajo also said he had replaced senior security officers in the country’s intelligence service and police force to prepare for the escalating war that he plans to wage against the militants.
While giving the press briefing, the president was dressed in full military combat, perhaps to add more emphasis to his message to the militants.
“I am declaring a state of war in the country, It will not be one side, It is right and Allah will be with us, we are committed to work the safety and development of our people ,in order that every one might get a better life”, President Famajo said.
Analysts think the new security measure is about reinforcing gains made by AMISOM and Somalia forces.
Al-Shabaab has waged a near-decade war in Somalia, killing thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands others.