Somalia needs more support for its national army and new investment to create jobs to help it fight Al Shabaab militants, the foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Al Shabaab, which once ruled much of Somalia, has been driven into smaller pockets of territory by an African Union force and Somali troops, but showed it still packs a punch earlier this month by retaking a town and killing 12 Ugandan troops at a base.
Soldiers and Shabaab clashed south of Mogadishu on Tuesday. Nine rebels and at least one soldier were killed, officials said.
Foreign Minister Abdusalam Omer told reporters that support for Shabaab was “shrinking” but he said the battle against the group that wants to topple the Western-backed government demanded a “holistic” approach to security and the economy.
“We need more training, we need more arms and we need more trucks, but equally important we need jobs. We need people to come and invest,” he said in a phone interview from Britain, home to one of Somalia’s biggest expatriate communities.
Somalia has been making a fragile recovery since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in 2012 after more than two decades of conflict and chaos. New buildings have risen out of bomb sites in Mogadishu, many financed by returning Somalis. But much of the 11 million population lives a precarious existence, some reliant on aid and others living in rural areas where al Shabaab still has a powerful influence.
Omer said he would judge his tenure at the Foreign Ministry by whether he met targets he had set himself for attracting investment. Omer was formerly central bank governor, but left in 2013 in the wake of a UN report alleging corruption that he strenuously denied. The government also dismissed the charges.