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Shouting, Banging In Somali Parliament Disrupts PM Vote

Afgoye and Mogadishu, Somalia
Afgoye and Mogadishu, Somalia

Somalia's parliament sank into chaos Tuesday as lawmakers tried to debate a no-confidence motion against the country's prime minister.

Supporters of Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed started shouting, blowing whistles and banging on empty jugs soon after debate on the motion began, drowning out lawmakers trying to speak.

The parliament speaker eventually closed the session, citing the noise. It was not clear when or if parliament will discuss the measure again.

The no-confidence motion was introduced by supporters of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed, who recently rejected a move by the prime minister to reshuffle the cabinet.

Somalia's international supporters are concerned the political tension could slow down or derail efforts to stabilize the country after more than 20 years of violence.

Late on Monday, the U.S. State Department said the no-confidence motion does "not serve the interests of the Somali people."

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that because of the political division in Somalia, the U.S. does not see the point in sending a delegation to a high-level forum on Somalia in Denmark next week.

Earlier this month, the U.N. representative to Somalia, Nicholas Kay, expressed concern that Somali lawmakers were receiving bribes to vote for the no-confidence motion. Somali President Mohamed called on the international community to stay out of Somali politics.

Violence and fighting continue while the political tension simmers. On Tuesday, veteran lawmaker Mohamed Omar Dalha survived an assassination attempt in Mogadishu while driving to parliament. His driver and a bodyguard were killed.

Also, witnesses say more than 90 people were killed over the weekend as militant group al-Shabab attacked and recaptured a key island off the coast of southern Somalia.