President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's
new administration is expected to today (Monday) begin the process of ensuring
the Somali capital is safe for ordinary Somali residents. The government Sunday
urged all militant groups to lay down their weapons as it begins the process of
restoring peace and security to the capital. Security in Mogadishu deteriorated
after hard line insurgent groups including al-Shabaab seized control of several
parts of the city soon after former President Mohammed Siad Barre was
overthrown by a coup d'etat in 1991. Described by Washington as a terrorist
organization with links to al Qaeda, al-Shabaab has refused to recognize the
new administration, vowing to eventually take over the country. Abdisalam Guled
is the spokesman for the Somali prime minister. He tells reporter Peter Clottey
that ordinary Somalis demand the return of peace to the capital, Mogadishu.
of the top agendas since the government moved here to the capital, Mogadishu,
was how to restore the law and order and to give assurance to the people of
Mogadishu somewhere they can live peacefully. So, today (Monday) we are taking
the first step to give some kind of peace and stability to take the first step
of security issues to replace the existing armed soldiers on the streets with
well disciplined and trained police personnel," Guled noted.
said ordinary residents of Mogadishu expressed the need for the return of peace
to the capital after being robbed and killed by various insurgent groups who
have taken control of various parts of the city.
know the people were complaining so much about the situation where they have
been robbed by armed groups wearing government uniforms. That has been going on
for some time now which, were not addressed by previous governments and that
has to change. So, today we are taking that mission and we are expecting that
things will go smoothly and according to our plan," he said.
expressed confidence that the government would soon restore peace in the city.
one of the police commanders in a radio broadcast Sunday told the people and
acknowledging the situation and the steps the government aims to take place and
ordering that all the various armed groups and personnel in the streets both in
uniform and not in uniform will be taken to a place where they would be
prepared and trained and rehabilitated. That will take place today and I think
this is one of the demands coming from the public and the residents of
Mogadishu were demanding from the government. And this exercise has to be done
because people have to feel safe," Guled pointed out.
said hard line Islamic groups including al-Shabaab will soon be forced to join
the government's peace efforts.
believe all the armed groups in Somalia were fighting for a reason. One of the
reasons why they were fighting was against the Ethiopian troops when they were
here. The Ethiopians are usually considered as the enemies of Somalis, so
anybody who was fighting for that reason will not be fighting anymore since the
Ethiopians have left… so we believe all the armed groups like al-Shabaab were
fighting for this same reason so that government is taking all the necessary
measures to ensure that everyone will have a common understanding. So, this is
that reason why we think the government has to win the heart and mind of the
people and has to show the citizens that it is capable of protecting them as
the government is supposed to do," he said.
Meanwhile, 11 people were reportedly killed in overnight
clashes between rival Islamist groups for control of a central Somalia region
over the weekend. Al Shabaab, which is seeking to impose a stricter version of
Islamic law, controls parts of central and the entire south except the capital,
So far, fighters of the
moderate Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca claimed it had captured Wabho town, 300 km (186
miles) north of the capital Mogadishu, from the more hard line al Shaabab group
in clashes over the weekend.