Wed, Sep 22, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Somalian prime minister resigns


Somalian Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke said he had resigned yesterday, after months of intense pressure to quit the UN-backed interim government.

The government has failed to end a three-year insurgency by hard-line Islamists who now control much of the capital and huge chunks of south and central Somalia.

“After considering the political crisis in the government and ­increasing insecurity in Somalia, I have decided to resign from my post as prime minister,” Sharmarke told reporters, flanked by Somalian President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

Ahmed said he welcomed Sharmarke’s decision to quit and said he would nominate a new prime minister as soon as possible.

Some analysts say that a beleaguered Ahmed has been looking for a scapegoat as he tries to ­reassert his authority over a brittle administration and disillusioned nation.

Parliament had been due to hold a vote of confidence on Sharmarke’s leadership on Saturday, but there were insufficient lawmakers to form a quorum and the session was postponed.

Meanwhile, a police officer said a suicide bomber who attempted to attack the presidential palace in Mogadishu has been shot dead. Police officer Abdi Aden said the attacker jumped on the back of an African Union peacekeeping vehicle late on Monday and managed to pass some security checkpoints at the palace.

Aden said that at the last checkpoint security forces saw the attacker, who threw a grenade, but was then shot dead. Aden said the assailant was wearing an explosives vest, which did not go off. There were no immediate reports of any additional deaths or injuries.

Al-Shabab militants have increased their attacks against the weak government over the last month.

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