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Somali Interim Parliament Fires 31 Lawmakers

Somalia's transitional parliament has fired its former speaker and 30 other lawmakers for failing to attend sessions in recent months.

The parliament had warned absent lawmakers in March that they would lose their seats if they did not begin showing up for meetings.

Those fired Tuesday include Sharif Hassan Sheik Aden, who was removed as speaker in January for holding unauthorized negotiations with the government's Islamist rivals.

Witnesses say about 150 lawmakers approved Tuesday's decision. There was no immediate word on how many opposed it.

The parliament has 275 members in all. It was formed in Kenya in 2004 as part of efforts to establish a new central Somali government.

That government has struggled to assert authority despite the intervention of Ethiopian troops who helped defeat the Islamists late last year.

Somalia has lacked an effective central government since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.