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Plans to Stabilize Somalia On Course, Says Minister

Somalia's new administration says it will continue with its national stabilization plan despite intensified attacks by hard-line Islamic insurgents, including al-Shabab. This comes after government forces drove out insurgents from two districts of the capital, Mogadishu, Tuesday during a day of heavy fighting.

Insurgents have been controlling some sections of the capital, but the new administration says it is determined to take back those areas.

Somali government spokesman Abdi Kadir Walayo told VOA that the administration's plan to restore peace and stability is on course.

"Last night there was some armed confrontation between the government force and the opposition. And it happened in two residential areas, the eastern and northern parts of Mogadishu. The government forces repulsed the opposition armed groups," Walayo said.

He said President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's government will continue with its stabilization plan.

"The government has worked out a national stabilization and security plan, and in accordance with that plan, it plans to totally free the whole of Somalia from the opposition stronghold," he said.

Walayo said the government is mandated to protect the lives of Somali citizens.

"In accordance with that plan, the government is duty-bound to get rid of the menace of the opposition armed groups," Walayo said.

He said the government would gradually take over control over the capital, Mogadishu, and the entire country.

"The government is planning to make counteroffensive on a step by step approach to minimize the casualties of the civilian population. And now there is plan to be implemented to restore peace and order, not only in Mogadishu but throughout Somalia," he said.

Walayo said the new Somali administration is enjoying support from the international community who back the government to succeed after at least 18 years without an effective government.

"The government has the support of the international community, and I believe that that assistance is forthcoming. And I'm sure that we will get support from the international community which expresses total support to the Transitional Federal Government," Walayo said.