Somalia's Transitional Federal
Government (TFG) is calling for the return of residents of the capital,
Mogadishu displaced by recent Islamic insurgents' attack. The call received a
boost Wednesday after over five thousand Mogadishu residents returned home
despite ongoing attacks by Islamic insurgents. The Islamists have been
launching attacks on the capital after last week's withdrawal of Ethiopian
troops. Some political analysts believe the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops
would lead to a power vacuum, which they said could encourage insurgent attacks
to take control of the capital. Ahmed Abdusalam is Somalia's deputy prime
minister. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Mogadishu that the
government intends to protect the returnees from further violence.
you know following the discussions in Djibouti and the peace agreement that was
reached in Djibouti between the Somali government and the ARS (Alliance for the
Re-liberalization of Somalia) our partners in the peace process, one of the
steps that was taken was the withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops to create space
for the returnees to come back, and to find a way to stop the conflict and the
hostilities that was happening in Somalia," Abdusalam noted.
said there has been a steady decline of violence in the capital, Mogadishu
since Ethiopian troops withdrew from their bases last week.
the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops, there was a sharp reduction in the violence
for the last few weeks or so for Somalis particularly those who have been part
of the peace process. So, as a result we were asking the Somali displaced
communities outside Mogadishu to get back to the neighborhood. This was an
effort that we expected would be one of the positive outcomes of the Djibouti
agreement that people would come back to their homes," he said.
said the government is encouraged by what he described as the enormous response
from Somalis displaced by Islamic insurgents attacks.
very positive both publicly and practically on their own free will and many
Somalis have come back to their homes and are cleaning up their homes. Some are
rehabilitating their homes. And many Somalis particularly those in some of the
other regions in near the capital have started coming together as communities
to discourage the situation of the violence and so in the last week they were
clearly in a positive mood in this community and hopefully establish true
peace," Abdusalam pointed out.
said the government is determined to protect the ordinary Somalis despite the
challenges ongoing ever increasing insurgent attacks.
of all we do recognize that there are some people who are determined to continue
violence. I think the first step is for the community to reject violence and to
make to make clear for them that the continuation of violence is not acceptable
and so the publicly is decidedly against that. Secondly, is that both the ARS
and TFG are reorganizing collectively the security forces and hopefully they
will join and will create the necessary force to maintain peace and order," he
reassured returning Somalis that the African Union (AU) peacekeeping (AMISOM)
is determined to support the effort of both the TFG and the ARS to bring back
stability in the capital and other surrounding areas.
is also AMISOM, which is already on the ground and who are assisting with this
peace and security we are fighting for. So, there are a number of elements that
are underway to protect the citizens from this violence," Abdusalam noted.
said the government has a reason to be hopeful with the level of enthusiasm so
far displayed by the returnees.
were very optimistic from the day we started the whole peace process that was a
year ago in January when we started this journey towards peace. It has taken us
five months to work and to start discussions with those Somalis who are against
the government and we want to discuss among Somalis the way forward
politically. As you know, we have now achieved a milestone where there is a
consensus to expand the parliament and elect a new leadership of the Somali
government," he said.
analysts say Islamic insurgents who are sharply opposed to the Federal
Transitional Government and the African Union (AU) peacekeepers are seeking to
exploit a power vacuum after thousands of Ethiopian soldiers supporting the
U.N.-backed interim administration left their basis last week in the capital
There is hope however that
the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops last week would encourage the fragmented
opposition insurgents to join a soon to be named unity government under the
ongoing Djibouti negotiations.