Interview with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud

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The Somali government has recaptured 70 percent of territories in the southern and central parts of the country from al-Shabab, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud told Al Arabiya on Friday.

Speaking to Al Arabiya’s New York Bureau chief Talal al-Haj, Sheikh Mahmoud said the government has now built public administrations in areas it controls.

“Services started to be delivering; the aim of operation "Indian ocean" is to cut al-Shabab from the links they have to the outside world, taking over from the coastal area of Somalia This is the main objective of this operation,” he said.

But he said the Somali government’s military remains “not up to the task” of completely eliminating al-Shabab.

“They are not up to the task. Somali national force is a nascent institution that was recently established. They are lacking equipment, they are lacking capacity, they lacking training and many other - but the level of commitment to these young boys and girls who are in the army is what is driving them,” the president said.

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