Somali President Delivers Speech In Columbus
The President of Somalia on Monday visited Columbus, which is home to the country's second-largest population of Somali immigrants.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected in 2012, and in January, the U.S. recognized his government for the first time in more than 20 years.
Mohamud delivered a speech at Ohio State University Monday morning to a crowd that contained many members of the city's Somali community, the second largest in the country after Minneapolis-St. Paul.
He told the audience he has reached out to the president of Kenya and did not condone the weekend attacks there.
Mohamud says the group claiming responsibility for the weekend terrorist attack at a Kenyan mall presents a threat not just to Africa but to the entire world.
Kenyan authorities say dozens of people have died in the attack. Somali militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility.
"Al-shabab phenomena in Somalia is not a local phenomenon. It is not only a Somalia phenomenon, it's not only a Somali problem, it is a regional problem and a continental problem," the Somali president said.
Mohamud added that efforts are still underway to strengthen Somalia's security forces. He says his government is committed to uprooting al-Shabab. He says maintaining security is his top priority as Somalia rebuilds after decades of civil war and terrorist threats.
Somali was without a functioning government for two decades after warlords toppled the country's longtime dictator in 1991.
While Mohamud was inside on Monday, about 15 protesters gathered outside of the OSU building.
They told 10TV that the president did not represent all factions in their country. They called his presidency corrupt.
They said that the Muhamud government is not doing enough to help women and children who are victims of rape and abuse.
The group called on Mohamud to change his policies or resign.
Muhamud said he is working for change, which includes new clinics for victims and giving women a more active role in rape investigations.
"We have zero tolerance on rape," he said.
Mohamud says he has already called Kenya's president twice, sending condolences after this weekend's attacks.
He says he plans to visit the country to show his support.
His next stop is at the U.N General Assembly.
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