News / Africa

Somali Prime Minister Resigns

The prime minister of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government has resigned, bringing an end to months of dispute that has further weakened the U.N.-backed administration in Mogadishu.

Differences with president

Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke said he was stepping down from office because he was unable to work out the differences he had with President Sharif Sheik Ahmed. Mr. Sharmarke said he made the decision to resign after considering the political turmoil and growing insecurity caused by their dispute.

President Sharif called Mr. Sharmarke's decision "courageous," and promised to nominate a new prime minister in the coming days.

Setbak for UN

The resignation is a setback for the United Nations, which had sponsored the 2008 power-sharing deal in Djibouti that brought together secular members of the government and an Islamist opposition group led by Sharif Sheik Ahmed. The international community had hoped that President Sharif and Prime Minister Sharmarke could create a plan to defeat a militant Islamist insurgency and lift the country out of nearly two decades of war.

But the two leaders quickly became embroiled in personal quarrels that hampered their ability to carry out their duties. The latest dispute flared in early August when President Sharif pushed for a delay in the ratification of the country's draft constitution against the advice of the prime minister.

Critics of the government say the only group in Somalia that has benefited from the political bickering is al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked group that is battling the government and African Union peacekeepers for control of Mogadishu. It also has ambitions to unite the Horn of Africa under a radical Islamic banner.

Militant attacks

In recent weeks, al-Shabab militants have doubled their effort to overthrow the government. The group has claimed responsibility for suicide attacks in the capital that killed dozens of people, including parliament members and several peacekeepers.

On Monday, a Somali police spokesman told reporters that a man had tried to carry out a suicide attack inside the presidential palace.

The police spokesman said the bomber tried to jump onto an African Union vehicle as a convoy of peacekeepers drove through the palace gates. When African Union troops opened fire, the man threw a grenade at the peacekeepers and detonated his explosives vest.

The spokesman said the bomber was a former security guard at the Interior Ministry, who recently defected to al-Shabab.

But another Islamist insurgent group, Hizbul Islam, says it was behind Monday's attack.

Hizbul Islam leader in Mogadishu, Abdi Nassir Abu Hashim, says one of its members, Ali Abdullah Kheireh, also known as Dalha, carried out – in Abu Hashim's words – the "successful mission."

Hizbul Islam formed in early 2009 to oppose the Transitional Federal Government and had a brief alliance with al-Shabab. Hizbul Islam leaders were considered more nationalist than religious zealots, so the international community privately urged President Sharif to reach out to Hizbul Islam's top cleric, Hassan Dahir Aweys. The two men were leaders of the Islamic Courts Union, which ruled Somalia in 2006 before it was ousted by Ethiopia's military.

But talks with Aweys broke down. Hizbul Islam subsequently split into pro and anti-al-Shabab factions.

Somali sources tell VOA that in recent months, many Hizbul Islam fighters in regions such as Lower Shabelle and Hiran have joined al-Shabab, strengthening the extremist group's hold on Somalia.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid