MOGADISHU, Somalia – The recent violent attack on the General Gordon military base in Somalia has raised serious concerns about the security and recruitment flaws within the country’s armed forces and training programs. The breach of security resulted in the deaths of three soldiers from the United Arab Emirates and one from Bahrain, exposing the vulnerability of military installations to infiltration by extremist groups like Al-Shabaab.
Questions have been raised about the oversight of security risks and the effectiveness of the recruitment process for soldiers. It has been revealed that the recruitment process for soldiers is marred by inefficiency, corruption, and clan-based bias, with recruits often being vouched for by Members of Parliament and Ministers, leading to a military composed of individuals with familial ties rather than merit.
The attack at the General Gordon base has not only raised concerns about security but has also heightened worries over the presence of former Al-Shabaab members within the ranks of the Somali National Army. This poses a direct threat to foreign trainers providing assistance to the Somali armed forces. Countries such as Turkey, the United States, the EU, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates continue to provide training within Somalia, but the recent attack has prompted a reevaluation of the effectiveness of their efforts.
In addition, the government has been criticized for its failure to disclose how attackers manage to infiltrate highly secured military facilities. Security experts have identified significant flaws in the security procedures, including allowing soldiers to carry loaded weapons into formations during high-profile visits to military bases, thus endangering not only the soldiers themselves but also senior officials such as the President, who regularly visits these sites.
The persistence of Al-Shabaab within government institutions underscores the complex challenge Somalia faces in securing the nation against internal threats. The importance of stringent recruitment and vetting processes to safeguard the nation’s future cannot be overstated, and it is clear that significant reforms are necessary to strengthen the security and effectiveness of the Somali armed forces.