Somalia President to PJM: Al-Shabaab Part of a 'Global Phenomenon That Needs to be Addressed'
Within Somalia, Al-Shabaab has concentrated its tactics on asymmetrical warfare -- assassinations and suicide bombings -- as their physical territory of control in the country shrinks.
"The plan is by the end of the year there will not be a territory controlled by Al-Shabaab in Somalia -- but that does not mean it's the end of the war," Mohamud said. "The war will continue."
He stressed that in the early 2000s Somalis didn't believe terrorism could take root there as their culture didn't include more extremist beliefs such as honor killings. "We don't have that type of history," the Somali leader said. Still, in 2006 Al-Shabaab was born with the first suicide bombers in Mogadishu.
Now, Al-Shabaab is training young people for more diverse missions, such as the attacks in Kenya.
"It's a very serious concern for the region, and for the continent, and for the world at large," Mohamud said. "The problem of terrorism is not a Somali problem only. That's why we're seeking the support from the outside world."
He acknowledges the problems within, such as deterring large numbers of untrained young people from accepting a job with Al-Shabaab or being recruited by the pirates.
"Are they employable?" he said. "Using the AK-47 gun does not need much training… Developing and providing an alternative way of life for that young generation is one of the challenges that the Somali government faces right now."
Stressing the country's developmental needs to international partners has been more challenging than soliciting support in the security sector. "The military campaign is only one part of the war."
Mohamud noted that EU forces are conducting a training mission inside Somali, and the U.S. is supporting and training special forces. And even though the "seed of a national army of the future is now beginning," they just don't have enough equipment.
As they look at the map of areas where Al-Shabaab currently supplants the government, fewer than 15 districts remain under control of the terrorist group, the president said.
"But Somalia is a vast area -- when you chase them away from the districts and the towns, they go into the rural area and that's where they remain a threat to the community," he said, as they seep back into the cities for their targeted attacks.
"Our war will continue in the urban places and this will continue for some time," Mohaumd said. "The society understood that there is no future with Al-Shabaab -- and they are fighting."
After his D.C. trip for the U.S.-Africa Leaders' Summit, Mohamud flew to Minnesota to urge Somali-Americans at a Saturday night event to not fundraise or in any way support Al-Shabaab.
"Somalis in Minnesota, you should also play your part," the president told the crowd, according to MPR News. "The enemy that is in [Somalia] is also in here. Keep your children safe."