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Somali Government Investigates Murder Of Police Chief

The Somali government is investigating Sunday's murder of the police chief of the country's capital, Mogadishu.

State Minister of Parliament and Government Relations, Abdurahman Ibbi, told VOA his government is investigating who killed General Yusuf Ahmed Sarinle and why. "We have been told that he has been murdered in his own house, at night. Gangs come [came] in and killed him," said Mr. Ibbi. "And not yet, it is not politically motivated to our knowledge but we are investigating it."

General Sarinle was gunned down Sunday at his residence near the capital, Mogadishu.

Mr. Ibbi denied media reports that the police chief could have been killed because he was said to have supported the presence of African peacekeepers in Somalia or because he was investigating who was responsible for desecrating Italian graves in the city last week.

Mr. Ibbi said he thinks young militiamen might have murdered the police chief because he posed a threat to their activities and that he represented progress.

Security in Somalia is foremost on the minds of members of the new Somali government, who are in the process of re-locating to Mogadishu from their base in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

Last week, Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Gedi announced that three teams are preparing the groundwork for the government's relocation, estimated to be completed by April.

Mr. Gedi had said insecurity is the main challenge - and concern - for his new government. He said there is no specific threat aimed at the government, but a general chaos and lawlessness brought about by more than a decade of war.

Earlier this month, the African Union pledged to send what it calls a "peace support mission" into Somalia to protect the government, train the police force and army, and help to provide security.

Somalia fell into anarchy after then-leader Siad Barre was ousted in 1991. Since then, groups based on clan and sub-clan affiliations have controlled different parts of the country through the strength of their militias, with no central government to provide law, order, and resources to the people.