A cabinet minister in Somalia’s Transitional Federal government says despite difficulties the administration is pleased with the progress of ongoing security reforms.
Treasury Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman said President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s government is determined to soon defeat hard line Islamic insurgents who have vowed to overthrow the administration.
He said the newly reformed security agencies will be instrumental in defeating the insurgent groups.
“The government has been working very hard on reforming our security forces now that we have made changes to (the) leadership of our security forces…we are on the right track in terms of these security forces gaining the trust of the population as well as they having the training that they require. So, we are very confident even though it took us a long time than we were expecting,” he said.
The Somali government recently fired the head of its police force and the military chief two days after a suicide bomber killed three ministers and several others in the capital, Mogadishu.
Analysts say the sacking of Police Chief Abdi Hassan Awale and military commander Yusuf Hussein forms part of President Ahmed’s comprehensive security overhaul to retake areas under the control of hard line Islamic insurgents.
Treasury Minister Osman said Somalis want a strong security presence especially in the capital, Mogadishu.
“We believe that the security forces we have trained at the moment will gain the respect of the people as well as bringing peace and stability to the country and that is what the Somali people have been crying very loudly for,” Osman said.
President Ahmed’s internationally backed government has been battling almost daily Islamic insurgents including al-Shabab who control large portions of the country including the capital, Mogadishu.
The insurgents have vowed to overthrow the administration to implement the strictest form of the Sharia law.
Washington has often described al-Shabab as a terrorist organization with strong ties to al-Qaeda.
Osman said the insurgents use fear and intimidation in areas they control.
“They are controlling by fear, by extremism and by recruiting (the) young generation as young as 12 years old. So, they have child soldiers which is against human rights as well as not having the children to go to their school and not having their own rights. So, we believe it is a matter of time. And now we are having the support of the population wherever they are because of what al-Shabab is doing to the people,” Osman said.
Meanwhile, the insurgent group, al-Shabab recently ordered Somali radio stations broadcasting news programming from VOA and the British Broadcasting Corporation to immediately cancel their contracts.