Somali clergy seek Kagame’s help

KIGALI - Somali religious leaders ask for President Paul Kagame’s intervention in war-torn Mogadishu.
Mufti Habimana (standing 3rd from left) and other ACRL members during a recent meeting in Somaliland. (Courtesy photo)
Mufti Habimana (standing 3rd from left) and other ACRL members during a recent meeting in Somaliland. (Courtesy photo)

KIGALI -Somali religious leaders have pleaded for President Paul Kagame’s intervention to help in restore peace in their war-torn country.

Their request, sent through Rwanda’s Sheik Swalleh Habimana, comes a week after President Kagame called on the international community to help solve Somalia’s crisis.

The President made the call while opening the joint African, Carribean and Pacific and the European Union (ACP/EU) Parliamentary Assembly, on Monday last week in Kigali.
Habimana, who was in Somaliland attending the African Council of Religious Leaders (ACRL) last week, said his Somali counterparts gave him a special message to deliver to President Kagame.

“We ask you to tell President Paul Kagame as a leader who has been able to stop a genocide and has been able to set up a strong emerging nation to come to our rescue and stop the conflict in Somalia. We don’t know how he can do it but we know he is capable,” the message reads in part.

Somalia has lived under a sustained state of insecurity since 1991 when former president Siad Barre was overthrown.

The Horn of Africa nation has had no effective government and several warlords have taken advantage of the anarchy to establish militias that have destabilised the region.
There have been several efforts to bring peace to Somalia but all in vain.

Rwanda is currently providing training to Somali troops. Only Ugandan peacekeepers are deployed in the troubled nation although several countries have pledged to contribute troops.

Habimana, who is Rwanda’s highest Muslim cleric, joined his counterparts in ACRL to explore ways of bringing back peace in Somalia.

ACRL brings together all faiths on the African continent and is affiliated to the Universal World Conference of Religions for Peace.

While there, he and other ACRL members met several Somali leaders including the president of Somaliland Dahir Rayale Kahin.

Habimana said Kahin told them his country has not been recognised by the international community “and has not received any aid since 1991 but had managed to create a self dependent economy, peaceful, stable and lively.”

Currently, Somalia is divided into three semi autonomous regions of Puntland, Somaliland and South Central Somalia. Somaliland, which hosted the ACRL meeting, is the most stable of the three.

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