Somali government splits amid fight for control – By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN (MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP))

December 16th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Somalia’s U.N.-backed government was crumbling Tuesday as the president defied parliament and Kenya announced sanctions against him in a strong public rebuke.


Somalia’s U.N.-backed government was crumbling Tuesday as the president defied parliament and Kenya announced sanctions against him in a strong public rebuke.

The government dispute will do nothing to stabilize the administration, which wields virtually no authority in the face of powerful Islamic insurgents who have taken over most of the country.

Civilians have suffered most from the violence surrounding the insurgency, with thousands killed or maimed by mortar shells, machine-gun crossfire and grenades.

The United States worries that Somalia could be a terrorist breeding ground, and accuses al-Shabab — “The Youth” — of harboring the al-Qaida-linked terrorists who blew up the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Somalia’s lawlessness also has allowed piracy to flourish off the coast; bandits have taken in about $30 million in ransom this year.

President Abdullahi Yusuf unilaterally fired Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein this week after months of public feuds over the best way to bring peace, but parliament soundly rejected Yusuf’s decision and voted to keep the prime minister.

On Tuesday, Yusuf ignored that and announced that he was appointing a former interior minister, Mohamed Mohamud Guled, as the new prime minister.

Just hours later, Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula said Yusuf was an obstacle to peace and announced sanctions, including a travel ban and freezing any assets in Kenya.

“The region and international community should act in unison to collectively condemn all spoilers to the Somali peace process,” Wetangula told journalists.

It was not immediately clear when the sanctions would go into effect, but they are a powerful charge because Kenya hosted the two-year-long peace talks that formed Yusuf’s government in 2004.

Somalia’s U.N.-backed administration has been sidelined by Islamic militants and is veering toward collapse. The insurgents held a news conference in the capital, Mogadishu, on Sunday — a brazen move that shows their increasing power — and vowed never to negotiate with the leadership.

Somalia has been without an effective government since 1991, when warlords overthrew a dictatorship and then turned on one another. The country is now at a dangerous crossroads.

Ethiopia, which has been protecting the Somali government, recently announced it would withdraw its troops by the end of this month. That will leave the government vulnerable to Islamic insurgents, who began a brutal insurgency in 2007.

In the past, Islamists have brought a semblance of security to the country, but have done it by carrying out public executions and floggings. On Saturday, fighters loyal to the most powerful arm of the Islamist movement — al-Shabab — publicly executed two men accused of killing their parents.

Associated Press writers Mohamed Sheikh Nor in Mogadishu, Somalia and Tom Maliti in Nairobi, Kenya contributed to this report.

  1. yikerbelen
    | #1

    What does terrorist mean? USA have been creating an evilish alliance with one of the most known terrorist group called “TPLF” AND killing innocent ethiopians for the simple reason they have given their voting card for CUDP and elected CUPD as their leaders for the coming five years since 2005. USA is telling us robert mogabe is dictator, but at the same time USA has refused to accept the reality that TPLF is more criminalgroup tham robert mogabe. Now USA is worrying that somalia can be the breeding ground of terrorist after TPLF lost it’s proxy war against the somalia’s heroes in somalia. The question here should be , What does terrorists do except killing innocent civilians? what about those innocent somalians who are being the victums of terrorist[ TPLF] IN THEIR OWN VILLAGES?USA and TPLF should take the direct responsibility for the messes in somalia.

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