Somalia's government is set to bolster security in a town near the capital, a day after successfully seizing control from hard-line Islamic insurgents. Beledweyn, in central Somalia is one of a few areas under the Somali government's control which is reportedly struggling to counter a growing Islamist insurgency.
The insurgents have refused to recognize the Somali administration, promising to overthrow the government through violence. But the government said it will continue to wrestle control from the insurgents in other parts of the country.
Government spokesman Abdi Kadir Walayo told VOA that the government will not relent on providing adequate security for its peoples.
"The government troops have successfully captured Beledweyn area 360 kilometers north of Mogadishu. And the commander of the armed forces reported that the area is now secure and the population living in Beledweyn is enjoying real peace there," Walayo said.
He rejected claims that government forces simply took over the town after the insurgents have left.
"This information is baseless. The government is now controlling the district of Beledweyn and its surroundings. And the commander of the area reported that now people are enjoying real peace," he said.
Meanwhile, the African Union peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), and the Somali government launched a Joint Security Committee over the weekend to coordinate efforts in support of Mogadishu's security sector institutions.
Walayo said the move would bring about peace in Somalia after at least 19 years without an effective government.
"The government and AMISOM commander and the United Nations Political office for Somalia have jointly issued a joint security plan through which they want to restore peace to other parts of Somalia, especially south central Somalia," Walayo said.
He said the joint cooperation forms part of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's plan to ensure Somalia's stability.
"Yes, from the outset when this administration led by President Sheik Sharif came to power six months ago, they established that stabilization and security plan, and now it is in full swing," he said.
Walayo said the government recruitment exercise to strengthen government forces is on course.
"The recruitment drive is really good, and the new aspirants for the e-establishment of the Somali armed forces are going on. The navy, which is going to control the Somalia coastline … the recruitment drive is in full swing and the young people are now joining the government forces," Walayo said.
He expressed confidence that the insurgents are losing influence.
"You know, this support of al-Shabab, they are losing ground. Now they are vacating areas where they occupied before and these young people are now joining Somali forces. They know the illegitimacy and plans of al-Shabab, so now they are going to distance themselves from… al-Shabab," he said.
Walayo said the government will be able to pay the new recruits after receiving financial support from the international community.
"The government is ready to pay the new recruits and because of the international support, the government is receiving that support. The government will provide stipends to the newly recruited personnel," Walayo said.
Somalia has been without an effective government after long time President Mohammed Siad Bare was overthrown in 1991.