The president of Somalia’s transitional government, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, has said he is willing to talk to senior Islamist opposition leader Hassan Dahir Aweys and even accept him into the government if it would help stabilise Somalia.
This decision is as a result of the incessant attacks and atrocities committed by the Islamist opposition that has continued to bury the country in social, economic and political quagmire.
However, the Islamist opposition leader has said he will not talk to the government until African Union peacekeepers are removed from Somalia.
Yesterday, the Islamist group aimed mortar bombs at the country’s parliament in Mogadishu shortly after MPs had just passed a national budget.
Reports claim that at least three children and five adults were killed when the mortar bombs began to rain in the surrounding neighborhoods as it missed the targeted parliament building.
Somalia faces a daunting set of challenges: famine, poverty, chronic insecurity and lawlessness, meddlesome neighbours, piracy, and the enduring memory of numerous failed peace processes.
The most pressing problem for the new president is how to deal with the radical Islamist group al-Shabab.
So far they (Islamist group) have shown no willingness to join the grand coalition between Sheikh Sharif’s Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS) and they have spent the last two years building their military and financial strength and will be hard to dislodge by force.