|(Image courtesy Assist News)|
After the many years of anarchy, elections last year in September paved the way for greater stability and growth in the Horn of Africa country. The decreased violence, coupled with increased successes in the internationally-supported fight to drive out al-Shabaab Islamist insurgents, greatly improved the atmosphere in Somalia.
This did not necessarily bring freedom for the Church. But it did bring some welcome consistency and created "space" for increased discipleship, albeit still under great secrecy. However, Open Doors is concerned that the atmosphere is changing rapidly.
The newly-installed Somali government is increasingly challenged in its efforts to maintain stability. It was expected of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to stamp out notorious clan politics, corruption, and the "stubborn Islamist insurgency" of al-Shabaab. But observers say his inexperienced government lacks funds as well as the authority to get the job done.
Additionally, in the absence of clear instruction from the provisional constitution, the government is battling to find a way to divide power between the center and the regions. Reuters reported recently that Somalia's neighbors and foreign powers fear a return to civil war.
"It is unclear from our vantage point if the group's influence is really as great as they claim," said an Open Doors worker. What is clear, however, is the fact that greater instability means greater difficulty for believers to function.
For the sake of creating better opportunity for discipleship that can lead to a stronger local Body of believers, we ask believers worldwide to pray for the Lord to show grace to the inexperienced government of Somalia so that they can overcome their multiple challenges."