Al-Shabaab introduces Arabic curriculum in Somalia schools

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Al-Shabaab militants have intensified their urge to change the status quo and hijack institutions in Somalia, targeting school syllabus as one of their strategies to attract more sympathizers in a bid to overthrow the fragile UN-backed Somalia administration.

The Arabic language has been one of the group’s most preferred languages due to its affiliation with Al-Qaida, a Middle East-based terrorist group, which among others, supports the draconian Sharia Law that discriminates against both women and critics.

While the group has been using the language in its teachings across the country, there has been a plan to introduce it to various institutions, especially in areas that are still under its firm control especially in Central and Southern Somalia.

For instance, during Ramadan, the militants came up with banners written in Arabic as one strategy to popularize the language in Somalia. The country largely uses the Somali language and to some extent, English in official communication.

Al-Shabaab media outlets confirmed the introduction of the Arabic curriculum in all primary schools under its territories, adding that the same will be replicated in secondary schools across the country. The group has scholars tasked with implementation, affiliated media outlets reported.

In 2017, the group has introduced a curriculum for elementary school across Somalia, a move which was downplayed by authorities in the country. But to stamp authority, the group takes over humanitarian assistance, medical help, and even in promoting agriculture to earn support from locals.

To promote extremism activities across Somalia, Al-Shabaab in return collects revenue from businesses across several towns besides taking ransom from victims. But in recent weeks, the group has substantially been degraded due to financial constraints, defections, infighting, and military operations.

For instance, an operation conducted by the Somali National Army [SNA] in the last three weeks left close to 300 militants dead. Chief of Defense Forces Gen Odowaa Yusuf Rage was in charge of the operations mainly in Lower and Middle Shabelle, breaking the military protocols in the process.

The US, which withdrew Special Forces in January following an Executive Order by former President Donald Trump, is contemplating sending troops to the Horn of Africa nation in the Al-Shabaab war. Reports published by The New York Times indicate President Joe Biden has already made a proposal.

But the fight against the militants is still active, with AMISOM, Turkey, and Britain training soldiers ahead of the anticipated exit of the African mission troops. On Wednesday, UK commissioned 100 SNA special soldiers in Baidoa, Southwest.

The training involved a mix of theory and practice, covering defensive operations, basic command, and control, dealing with improvised explosive devices, first aid, safe weapon handling, shooting, tactics, communications, first aid, and human rights.

“I want to congratulate you for successfully completing your training. You have proved your ability to march on, shoulder to shoulder, and I admire your dedication and application,” said Ambassador Kate Foster. “Over the last year, Somalia has made real progress towards building its future army and in conducting operations. We’re delighted the UK has played a role in this, especially in Baidoa which is a vital location in the fight against Al Shabaab.”

South West State President Abdiaziz Mohamed ‘Laftagareen’ thanked the UK government for the training. He is one of the leaders who have been pushing for the elimination of Al-Shabaab from the country.

“The more sweat on the ground during training, the less blood on the battlefield and more victories for Somalia. Training is the best gift to any army and we are grateful to the UK government for helping our army,” he added.

Al-Shabaab has lost several bases in central and southern Somalia in recent weeks but the group can launch small to large scale sporadic attacks in the country and across the border. For instance, Al-Shabaab attacked a military training school in Mogadishu on Tuesday.