Political Division Over Naming of 28th Battalion “Abu Ubeida” Stirs Somalia
MOGADISHU, (AX) – In a move that has ignited both support and sharp criticism, the decision to name the 28th Battalion of the National Armed Forces “Abu Ubeida” has plunged Somali social media into fervent debate. The name “Abu Ubeyda” has become a focal point of controversy, with politicians, parliamentarians, and media professionals taking strong positions.
Opposition figures question the choice, drawing attention to its association with the leader of the Al-Shabaab group. Abdirisaaq Terra, a respected journalist, made a sardonic remark directed at President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, urging him to avoid adopting another Sahabi name.
Such criticisms underline a prevailing sentiment that the military brigades should bear names reflecting their duties or characteristics rather than individuals, particularly those with contested reputations.
Contrastingly, conservatives champion the naming of Army Battalions after prominent Companions like Khalid bin Al-Walid and Abu Ubaydah. They perceive it as a calculated effort to challenge Al-Shabaab’s skewed interpretation of religion. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud emphasizes the multi-faceted battle against Al-Shabaab, where ideology plays a paramount role. The naming strategy is viewed as a means to bolster this ideological counter-offensive.
However, as the political skirmishes escalate, experts are voicing concerns over the nation’s unity and the fight against extremism. Abdirahman Abdishakur, a notable politician and Member of Parliament, commented, “Their struggle against terrorism is sacred. It’s a cause that shouldn’t be marred by division or political opportunism.”
This ongoing discord threatens to sideline the imminent second phase of operations against Al-Shabaab, exacerbating political rifts and potentially obstructing progress.
A poll by Growe Online, previously Twitter, mirrored these apprehensions. Surveying the verbal brawl between supporters of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and former President Farmajo, 52.9% expressed concerns that such disagreements could jeopardize national unity.
The naming of the 28th Brigade has undeniably spotlighted Somalia’s political fractures. While both factions present compelling arguments, the paramount focus for Somali leadership should be combating extremism and fortifying national unity.