MOGADISHU, May 25 (Xinhua) -- The Somali transitional government on Monday announced the imposition of an immediate blockade on airports and seaports in insurgent-run areas in the south and center of the war-torn east African nation.
Following a closed-doors meeting in Mogadishu, Somali cabinet ministers said the sanctions which do not include humanitarian flights and shipments, were aimed at curbing the flow of arms and foreign fighters into the country.
"Starting from today (May 25) sea ports and airports not under the government's control will be closed to any flights or shipments except for humanitarian purposes," Farhan Ali Mohamoud, the Information Minister, told reports in Mogadishu.
Mohamoud said the cabinet endorsed the decision of the east African bloc, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to impose a no-fly-zone and blockade on south-central Somali airports and seaports run by the hardline Islamist movement of Al-Shabaab.
The Al-Shabaab group, listed by the U.S. as a terror organization, controls most of south-central Somalia where the two main ports in Kismayu and Marka and a number of airstrips are located.
He said that call on the UN Security Council to also impose similar sanctions on the airports and seaports in areas where Somali government forces are not in control.
Meanwhile, the UN envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has arrived in the Somali capital on a previously unannounced short visit, during which he held meetings with senior Somali government leaders including the President and Prime Minister, the Information Minister said.
The UN Somalia envoy, who left Mogadishu hours after his arrival, discussed with the Somali leaders on the political, security and humanitarian situation in Somalia at a time when government forces have been engaged in fierce battles with Islamist insurgent forces vying for control of the city for the past two weeks.
Earlier on Monday, Somali President Sheikh Sharif sheikh Ahmed called on the international community for assistance in the fight against local insurgents and foreign fighters who he said invaded Somalia.
The president accused the insurgents and foreign fighters of turning Somalia into Iraq and Afghanistan.
A suicide car bomber on Sunday struck a government military base in Mogadishu, killing eight people, six of them government soldiers, and wounded ten others.
The Al-shabaab movement on Monday claimed responsibility for the attack, describing it as "a blessed operation" against what it termed as apostate forces.
The group, who want to rule Somalia by the Koran, the holy book of Islam, controls most of the south and center of the war-torn Horn of Africa country which has not had a strong central government for nearly two decades.
Somalia, a country of nine million population, has been plagued by civil strife since the overthrow of the late Somali president Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1991.