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Somali President Yusuf Resigns


Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed has announced his resignation, saying he has been unable to bring security to the war-ravaged country.

Mr. Yusuf told parliament Monday that he has handed in his resignation to the speaker of parliament who will take over his duties until a new president is elected.

Mr. Yusuf blamed the international community for failing to sufficiently support his government to allow it to rule effectively.

The United Nations-backed government controls only the capital city of Mogadishu and the parliament seat of Baidoa.

Earlier this month, Mr. Yusuf faced tough criticism for his attempt to fire Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, a move which parliament rejected.

The power struggle heightened concern about Somalia's future once Ethiopian troops who back the government withdraw, a move that is expected to happen within weeks.

Fighting over the last two years, involving Ethiopian-backed government forces and a variety of Islamist groups, has killed thousands of Somalis and displaced at least a million others.

The government recently reached a peace deal with a moderate Islamist group, the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia. But hardline Islamists rejected the deal and have continued taking over towns in the country's center and south.

In other developments, fresh fighting was reported Monday in central Somalia between the hardline Shebab militia and fighters from another religious group.

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


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