Some Shabaab fighters 'join Somalia government'
Somalia's government is negotiating with Islamist fighters and has persuaded some of them to join its administration, the foreign minister said.
Somalia's government is negotiating with Islamist fighters and has persuaded some of them to join its administration, the foreign minister said on Saturday.
Somalia's U.N.-backed administration is facing a insurgency by opposition fighters.
"Some al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam (members) have joined our government," Foreign Minister Ali Jama Jangili told reporters in Mogadishu. "We are negotiating with these two groups."
President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed's government controls only small parts of the central region and a few districts of the bullet-scarred capital.
More than 18,000 Somalis have been killed since the start of 2007 and another 1.4 million driven from their homes.
That has triggered one of the world's worst aid crises, with the number of people needing assistance leaping 17.5 percent in a year to 3.76 million, or half the population.
"We are planning to handle the country's security in the near future, this is our priority and we have support from the international community," Jangili said.
Reuters Last Mod: 06 Eylül 2009, 11:49