President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed's
new Somali government says it will soon take back a town taken Sunday by hard
line Islamic insurgents after two weeks of violent clashes with government
forces. Described by Washington as a terrorist organization with strong links
to Al Qaeda, al-Shabaab has refused to recognize the new Somali
administration. Al-Shabaab fighters took control of Jowhar, a strategic town in
the north of the capital, Mogadishu. Some political analysts say the takeover
is a demonstration of the weakness of President Sheikh Ahmed's new government.
Irro Mohammed is a Somali cabinet minister. From the capital, Mogadishu he told
VOA that the government is determined to succeed despite insurgent
al-Shabaab they are going to disturb the whole situation in Somalia and also in
the region. And they are also trying to stop the development that the
government was working on," Irro Mohammed said.
He said although the
insurgents have taken over Jowhar, the government would soon take it back from
"So they (insurgents) took
over this morning the town of Jowhar, but their mission is to hit and run. I do
believe that they would seen go away very soon otherwise our government troops
would be back and crush them," he said.
Irro Mohammed said the new
government has set in motion plans to bolster its security forces to restore
peace in the country.
"We are starting from
scratch and we are preparing our security forces. So, while we are in the
process, al-Shabaab is trying to disturb and to take over," Irro Mohammed said.
He expressed confidence the
government would win the fight against the hard line Islamic insurgents.
"I do believe that we have
confidence in our troops that we will slowly come and to control most of the
strategic towns where they are now," he said.
Meanwhile, Somali Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden said
the militants were being supported from outside. He had previously accused
Eritrea of arming the insurgents, a charge Asmara has denied.
Irro Mohammed agreed with the Somali
security minister that Eritrea was supporting the insurgents with funds and
"It is something common and everybody
knows that Eritrea is supplying ammunitions and some sort of weapons to our
oppositions, especially al-Shabaab and what they call Islamic jihadists," Irro
He also said there are indications the
insurgents seem to be getting funding from international entities.
"They are getting financial support
from outside, somewhere in Asia. I don't know if it is Pakistan or somewhere in
Iraq. But that is for sure and also there are foreign elements nearly four
hundred persons," he said.
Irro Mohammed said there has been
evidence of foreign fighters who have joined the insurgents to destabilize the
"Also the elements from outside are
fighting in the front lines in Mogadishu and also Jowhar and Baidoa. So that is
something very clear and everybody knows," Irro Mohammed said.
Meanwhile, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's new
government received a significant boost after former warlord and powerful
opposition leader Sheikh Yusuf Mohamed Siad, defected and pledged his support
for the new administration. Mohamed Siad described as bandits the ongoing hard
line Islamic insurgency in and around the capital, Mogadishu.
Irro Mohammed confirmed the defection
and said Mogadishu welcomes him with open arms.
"He came back this morning and joined
our forces and now he is staying with our troops. He told us that he is serious
and that he would not be back to al-Shabaab and he will fight against them,"
Irro Mohammed said.
observers say, over the last two weeks, fighting in southern Somalia has killed
at least 172 civilians and wounded 528 others. They contend that Mogadishu is
struggling to contain powerful insurgents, currently led by hard line militant
Somalia has been without an effective government in the
last 18 years after the overthrow of former President Mohammed Siad Barre.
Some political analysts say the lack of effective
government led to clannish wars which have made the country unstable and a
breeding ground of hard line Islamic insurgents, including al-Shabaab.