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SOMALIA: Prime Minister moves to stem political crisis

NAIROBI, 4 August 2008 (IRIN) - Somalia's Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein has replaced six of the 10 cabinet ministers who resigned on 2 August in an effort to quell a political crisis in the country.

"Five of those appointed were already in parliament while one was not," a journalist based in the capital, Mogadishu, who declined to be named, told IRIN on 4 August.

Hussein told a news conference on 2 August that the resignations would not affect the Transitional Federal Government's work but could influence a 9 June agreement signed in Djibouti between the government and an Eritrea-based opposition faction.

The government, he added, was working well despite the resignations, designed to create instability in the country and to undermine the Djibouti peace process.

A rift between Hussein and President Abdullahi Yusuf widened last week when the prime minister sacked Mohamed Dheere, the Mogadishu mayor, for allegedly fuelling insecurity in the city and misusing public funds.

The ministers who resigned, all Yusuf's allies, accused the TFG of failing to implement its projects and violating its charter.

Yusuf revoked Hussein's order on 31 July, allowing Dheere, a former warlord, to continue as mayor. However, political observers in Mogadishu told IRIN on 4 August that there was a likelihood of Dheere leaving for the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where he has been invited to stay.

The TFG was set up in 2004 to help bring order to the nation that had been without a government since President Siad Barre was ousted in 1991.

Meanwhile, Hussein condemned a roadside explosion on 2 August, which has so far killed at least 20 people. Another 45 wounded were admitted to a hospital in Mogadishu, according to hospital sources. Most of the dead and wounded were women street cleaners.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the explosion, it is suspected that Islamist militants are behind the incident.

"One of the injured women said in hospital that a young man had warned them minutes before the blast to stop working with the government," another journalist, who requested anonymity, said.

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Theme (s): Conflict, Governance,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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