Youth Radicalization in Somalia: Causes, Consequences and Potential Solutions

Radicalisation is undermining Somalia’s peace, stability and development prospects. Religious extremism in the country has also become a security concern for the region and the world. Young, uneducated Somalis and their well-educated diaspora peers who grew up in affluence in the West have become foot soldiers and suicide bombers for Somalia’s extremist insurgency Al-Shabaab. This paper evaluates the causes, drivers and contributing factors of radicalisation in Somalia. It also assesses the strategies adopted thus far to deal with Al-Shabaab, as well as other feasible options to address the issue of radicalisation in Somalia. At present, over 20,000 UN-mandated forces with the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are battling Al-Shabaab. US military forces are also engaged in aerial attacks and a Special Forces raids. Despite these combined efforts, Al-Shabaab endures, unleashing devastating terror acts, and is poised to remain as a potent force unless effective strategies are adopted.