x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Ten Somalian ministers resign

Ten out of Somalia's 15 ministers today expressed their intention to resign from the the country's cabinet.

Ten out of Somalia's 15 ministers expressed their intention to resign from the cabinet over alleged misuse of state funds by the prime minister, Nur Hasan Husein, in a statement today. "We cannot remain and share responsibility for what has been done by the prime minister," said the statement. Only six of the 10 ministers are currently in Mogadishu and an official in the office of the prime minister said that no official resignation had yet been tendered.

"Ten ministers including myself have so far resigned from the government of Nur Adde (Hasan Husein) and two of them are deputy prime ministers," said the minister for women's and family Affairs Qadijo Mohamed Diriye. "No initiatives were launched in parliament for the last seven months and there was a total misuse of the nation's resources, while the government also failed to ensure security," the statement said.

The move by two thirds of the Somali cabinet comes only days after the premier sacked the mayor of Mogadishu, Mohamed Omar Habeb, on corruption charges. The mayor defied Nur Hasan Husein's order, claiming that it was President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed's decision. Mr Habeb, a former warlord who ruled the country's Middle Shabelle region before being ousted in 2006, was appointed mayor of the violence-torn capital last year.

The latest row created a rift in the government, reflecting tensions between supporters of the president and those of the prime minister. The fresh crisis in war-torn Somalia comes amid efforts by international and Somali brokers to press on with a peace process aimed at ending the civil fighting that has killed thousands in recent months. Ethiopian troops came to the rescue of Somalia's embattled and internationally-backed transitional government in late 2006, ousting an Islamist militia that had briefly controlled large parts of the country.

Insurgents have since waged a deadly guerrilla war against government targets, Ethiopian forces and African Union peacekeepers. Civilians have borne the brunt of the fighting, with international rights groups and aid agencies saying that at least 6,000 were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced over the past year alone. The Horn of Africa nation has been plagued by civil fighting and defied more than a dozen peace initiatives since the 1991 ouster of former president Mohamed Siad Barre led to chaos.

The United Nations sponsored a new peace initiative which led to the signing on June 9 in Djibouti of a truce agreement between the government and the main Islamist-dominated opposition movement. But the deal led to a split in the opposition, with hardliners insisting Ethiopian troops should leave before negotiations start. The build-up to the truce agreement - which has yet to have any substantial impact on the ground - also sparked tensions between the prime minister and the president, officials have said.