MOGADISHU, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- As the much-anticipated conference to form a regional administration is underway in the southern Somali city of Kismayo, local officials said security in the port city have improved since the ouster of rebel fighters of Al-Shabaab.
The southern Somali port city of Kismayo has been under the control of Al-Shabaab until September last year when the port city fell into hands of allied Somali government forces and Kenya contingent of the African Union peacekeeping forces (AMISOM).
Officials said apart from sporadic incidents security in the southern city remains stable and improving as the local and AMISOM forces carry out regular patrols of the streets.
Speaking to Xinhua's reporters in Kismayo, provincial capital of Lower Juba region, Ahmed Mohamed Islam, Kismayo interim governor, was upbeat about the general security situation in the region.
"First the security in this city is ok since it was liberated from the Al-Shabaab. I think despite all that we have been through, security in these regions is very good and there is no particular problem we have here but I can say it is much better than other areas in the country," Mohamed Islam told journalists in Kismayo.
Hundreds of delegates from the federal Somali government in Mogadishu, elders from the local clans and representatives of the regional body are gathering in the city.
Officials in Kisamyo said the allied troops have secured the sea and air port but despite the improved security there are occasional roadside bomb blast and hand grenades thrown at police checkpoints in the town.
"Since we have arrived (in Kismayo), a few incidents occurred in the city including grenades thrown and roadside bombs that were planted but were foiled and has not caused any harm. From October first last year until now there have been minimal casualties from Al-Shabaab attacks," Mohamed Islam said.
After the defeat of the rebel group of Al-Shabaab last year, Islamist fighters have melted away in the general populations and have since managed to launch a number of attacks on Somali government forces and allied Kenyan troops.
"The other thing is these are Somalis and are among the people. It happens that they hide among the people and carry out ambushes along the roads but their problem is not as dangerous as we initially thought because you know Kismayo was the biggest source of income for them and with its loss they lost a lot, I think," Interim Kismayo leader said.
The senior Kisamyo leaders said security remains one of the biggest challenges facing the city officials as they try to consolidate their authority over the port city, the third largest in horn of Africa nation.