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Somalia Government Plans to Take Control of Country as `Soon as Possible'

Somalia’s government, which controls only parts of the capital, Mogadishu, plans to impose its authority over the rest of the country “as soon as possible,” National Security Minister Abdi Shakur Sheikh Hassan Farah said.

The state also intends to reduce corruption and establish municipal offices across the Horn of Africa nation, Farah told reporters today in the city. He didn’t provide details on how the government plans to achieve its aims.

“Somalia’s most critical issue is insecurity, therefore we should restore security soon, regardless of the escalating obstacles,” Farah said.

Rebel fighters from groups including al-Shabaab, the militia that the U.S. accuses of having links to al-Qaeda, have been fighting the Somali government for the past three years. Most of southern and central Somalia has been seized by the rebels, while President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s government controls only parts of Mogadishu.

Somalia hasn’t had a functioning central administration since the ouster of former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. The country ranks as the world’s most-corrupt country, according to Transparency International, the Berlin-based anti-graft advocacy group.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hamsa Omar in Mogadishu via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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