MOGADISHU, Somalia, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Somali forces were able to take key positions from al-Shabaab fighters during weekend attacks, government officials claimed.
Weekend fighting between soldiers with the U.N.-backed transitional government in Somalia and al-Shabaab claimed eight lives and injured another 18 people, al-Jazeera reports.
Abdirasaq Qaylow, an official in the Somali information ministry, said government forces were able to repel militant attacks.
"The insurgents attacked our position but they failed to capture it," he was quoted as saying. "Instead we captured from them several strategic positions."
Al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al-Qaida, is trying to set up an Islamist government in Somalia as it wages war against U.N. and African Union peacekeepers in the country. The transitional government, whose mandate expires next year, controls only a tiny portion of the capital
Augustine Mahiga, the U.N. special envoy to Somalia, addressed international delegates with the International Contact Group for Somalia last week, saying international intervention was needed in war-torn Somalia.
"We have all seen how the international community has rallied behind the governments in Iraq and Afghanistan," he was quoted by the United Nations' news agency as saying. "Somalia is no exception."
Mahiga added that for a global intervention to be successful, Mogadishu needed to have a stable government to support.
Somalia hasn't had a functioning government in decades and the country's prime minister resigned last month in part because of disputes with the Somali president.