ATMIS Reiterates Its Commitment To Support Somalia’s Defectors Rehabilitation Programme

As part of efforts in the fight against violent extremism, the African Union Transition in Somalia (ATMIS) has pledged its continued support to the Federal Government of Somalia’s Defectors Rehabilitation Programme.
The ATMIS’ Deputy Force Commander in charge of Operations and Plans, Maj. Gen. Marius Ngendabanka, made the pledge at a two-day workshop held in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
“I reaffirm ATMIS’ continued commitment to support the government and people of Somalia in the implementation of the Defector Rehabilitation and Reintegration programmes as part of efforts to a secure, stable and peaceful Somalia,” said Maj. Gen. Ngendabanka.
The Defectors Rehabilitation Programme managed by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and development partners has contributed to rehabilitating and reintegrating thousands of Al Shabaab defectors and is considered a major pillar in Somalia’s peacebuilding and reconciliation processes.

The workshop was attended by officials from the Somali National Army (SNA), Somali Police Force (SPF), and National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), as well as representatives from the federal government and federal member states of Jubaland, Southwest, and Galmudug.
Maj. Gen. Marius Ngendabanka said the proper treatment of Al Shabaab defectors would ensure the success of the Defectors Rehabilitation Programme and encourage more defections from terrorist groups.
The Director General of the Federal Ministry of Internal Security, Yusuf Ali Mohamed, highlighted the programme’s significant contributions its inception in 2013.
“The importance of this Defectors Rehabilitation Programme cannot be overstated, especially given the increasing number of Al Shabaab defectors as our offensive operations against the group intensify across the country,” stated Yusuf.
He said defectors are important in the ongoing peacebuilding processes, especially in countering extremist propaganda spread by militant groups.

The ATMIS Senior Civil Affairs Officer, Dr Opiyo Ododa, stressed the programme was significant for ATMIS, adding that African Union forces have been working closely with SNA to receive and disarm Al Shabaab defectors.
“The Defectors Rehabilitation Programme is important for us as ATMIS because our forces together with SNA are the first people that interact with the defectors and we have been given a mandate to hold the defectors from transition bases for a period of 48 hours,” Dr Ododa noted.
ATMIS Civil Affairs Officer and Sector 3 Coordinator, Fadil Karrar, said ATMIS support for the programme was part of its mandate to stabilising Somalia ahead of its exit at the end of next year.

“This support comes from the African Union Commission to member states and we shall continue to offer the necessary support to the Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States,” said Karrar.
The workshop also discussed strategies for bolstering the Defectors Rehabilitation Programmes and encouraging more defections from Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups. Participants also discussed relevant coordination mechanisms of the DRP National Programme and how security and law enforcement agencies and line ministries can comprehensively support and fast track defections.