Somali parliament fires 30 lawmakers

April 18th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – Somalia’s transitional parliament fired its former speaker and 29 other lawmakers Tuesday for failing to attend sessions in recent months in what may be a government move to further consolidate its control of the legislature.In January, the government successfully removed then-Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheik Aden, seen as being too close to the government’s rivals in a radical Islamic group that had controlled most of southern Somalia, including the capital, for six months. Aden was among those ousted from parliament Tuesday.

Somali troops, backed by Ethiopian forces, ousted the Islamic movement in December from Mogadishu and its strongholds.

Aden’s replacement by a government loyalist elected speaker was condemned by key donors to Somalia — the United States and European Union — who said it was working against reconciliation in Somalia.

All lawmakers fired Tuesday are allied to Aden and a number of them are in Asmara, Eritrea, which has been accused of supporting Somalia’s Islamic movement.

About 150 lawmakers approved Tuesday’s decision by acclamation, said Mohamed Hassan Fiqi, one of those in favor of the move.

Those who voted for the ousters were “hostages and puppets of the Ethiopians so they have no legal authority to fire us,” said Omar Hafhi Aden, speaking on the phone from Asmara. Omar Hafhi Aden is not related to the former speaker.

The transitional parliament has 275 members.

Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on one another, throwing the country into anarchy.

The transitional government was formed in 2004 with U.N. help, but has struggled to maintain control over the country.

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