Somalis living the capital, Mogadishu are reportedly condemning Monday night's Islamist insurgent attacks on African Union (AU) forces that led to a loss of lives and property. The insurgents reportedly said artillery and rocket propelled grenades were fired into Mogadishu's southern quarter where Ugandan troops from the AU peacekeeping force are based.

Some residents in the capital are calling on the transitional government to live up to its responsibilities and protect Somalis who have recently come under heavy attacks from Islamic insurgents. From the capital, Mogadishu, Somali political analyst Abdurrahman Mahmoud Tamele tells reporter Peter Clottey that the transitional government (TFG) seems to be powerless against the Islamic insurgents.

"There have been attacks and counterattacks between the African Union forces, which are backing the Transitional Federal Government, and the Islamists, who are opposing the African Union forces, as well as the Ethiopian forces. So, the situation is day by day taking a different turn and getting worse because the main problem is a big problem of leadership or the lack thereof," Tamele pointed out.

He said the lack of unity among the arms of the federal government is creating a problem in the capital, which he claims is being exploited by the insurgents.

"There is a crisis within the Transitional Federal Government and it looks like the national institutions are going to be paralyzed to the opposition forces. These negative forces are seeing that the government is weak, so they are making or attacking to prove to everybody, including the international community, that they are strong and a force to reckon with in Somalia," he said.

Tamele said Somalis have unanimously condemned the insurgent attacks on the African Union forces.

"Truly speaking, the people are condemning these attacks coming from the Islamists on the African Union. So the people are really fed up with the ongoing violence because it looks like no one has the ability to defeat the other one. So it is the ordinary people who are suffering from the escalated violence. The government is accusing the opposition forces, but the opposition forces are claiming they are liberating the people," Tamele noted.

He reiterated that the lack of co-ordination between the various arms of the transitional government is an enabling environment for the Islamic insurgents to exploit to the detriment of the ordinary Somalis.

"The transitional government cannot protect the people because it is in a very confused situation. There are problems between the Somali parliament and the presidency as well as the cabinet, so the government has no effective role at this moment in time to meet its obligations, which are at this point to protect ordinary Somalis. So the government seems to be paralyzed and unable to protect the people who are being attacked by the insurgents. So the hopes of the people are somewhat being dashed because the government is weak and ineffective to protect them against the attacks of the opposition forces," he said.

Tamele said Ethiopian forces have been trying to maintain peace and security in the capital as well as in other surrounding areas.

"Now, the Ethiopian forces are normalizing conditions. The people are seeing that the Ethiopians are backing the transitional government and the president, but now they are backing the system as whole to ensure that there is some sort of peace and security in the country," Tamele pointed out.

Meanwhile, aid groups have scaled down operations in Somalia because of the growing insecurity. It is largely blamed on Islamist militants who have waged a guerilla war since they were ousted last year by a joint Somali-Ethiopian offensive.

Somalia has been without an effective government since the 1991 ouster of President Mohamed Siad Barre, which reportedly touched off bloodletting that has defied several attempts to restore stability and return the country to constitutional rule.