Peacebuilder's last interview sends powerful message

By Teniola Ayoola

Peacebuilder Abdullahi Isse Abdulle (Isse) was killed in an al-Shabab attack in Somalia on July 12, but one of his final interviews reveals his poignant message to the world.

Isse traveled to Washington DC in May this year to share his story at #PEACETALKS, and event hosted by Peace Direct and Eaton Workshop, where he spoke with Peace News Network.

"I come, actually, to advocate for the role civil society can play in peacebuilding—globally, and nationally,” said Isse.

Isse graduated from Ohio State University and directed the Social-life and Agricultural Development Organization (SADO) in Somalia. The humanitarian organization provided aid and lead peacebuilding initiatives.

"There are around 2 million [Internally Displaced People] in Somalia,” said Isse, “That have fled from their homes and [are] living in other parts of their country. They fled because of the conflict, because of the insecurity."

"We have been assisting and supporting people when there was [not] any form of governance in Somalia."

He spoke about the impact of al-Shabab, and about how he was once forced to flee his own home.

"We then [drove] about 70kms and then the car ran out of fuel,” he said “We had to walk for five days until we reached the other region that out clans lived in."

He was separated from his family for seven months, but he still advocated for non-violent solutions.

"I don't think the fighting will defeat one party or bring the solution,” Isse said. “Peaceful talks can."

He encouraged the international community to recognize the power of locally-led peace, arguing that civil society knows the history and the dynamics of a conflict.

"I cannot do what you can do, [you] who are born here in America,” he said. “You cannot do what I can do, where I come from, in Somalia."

The attack by al-Shabab in Kismayo this month took Isse's life, and 25 others, but his legacy will live on in his hope for his country and in the work of his organization.

"Solutions to these complex problems in Somalia will come from the community level. It is the local community who knows these people like Al-Shabab. It is the community that will know the best path to peace."

- Abdullahi Isse, 2019

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