United Nations: Somalia's new prime
minister has said that 8,000 government troops will start waging attacks on Islamist insurgents and al-Qaida terrorists "very, very soon."
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a Somali-American educator,
also said in an interview with The Associated Press yesterday
that increased US and international support for his government
is essential to end Somalia's lawlessness and prevent
terrorists from continuing to use the country as a safe haven.
He also warned that nearly 2.5 million Somalis in both
Islamist and government-controlled areas are on the verge of
starvation and said some have already died.
He urged immediate global help to prevent even more
deaths than in the 1992 famine when 500,000 people died,
saying the United Nations and other donors weren't doing
The United Nations said in early December that despite
fragile improvement in 2010 because of two good rainy seasons,
Somalia still had 2 million people in crisis, including nearly
1.5 million displaced people.
It said floods, drought and armed conflict disrupt
access to health care, food, clean water and education but
nearly 2 million people in Somalia received food assistance
Somalia has not had an effective government since 1991
when warlords overthrew longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre
and then turned on each other, plunging the country into chaos
The weak UN- and US-backed transitional government,
established in 2004, and a poorly resourced African Union
peacekeeping force control only a small slice of Mogadishu and
haven't been able to push past the firing lines of Islamist
insurgents who are set up only a few blocks from the
Since his 18-member Cabinet of Somali technocrats who
had been living abroad was approved in late November, Mohamed
said he spoken on the radio to let people know his government
is honest and professional and will be transparent and
accountable unlike its predecessors. He also pledged to fight
corruption and promote national reconciliation.
"It looks like now we are winning the propaganda war,"
the prime minister said. "People are believing ... that we're
really serious and came back home to affect change."
First Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011, 14:27