Somalia's defense minister, army chief resign

Li Jiayao

MOGADISHU, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- Somali Defense Minister Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed and Chief of Army Ahmed Mohamed Jimale resigned in an unclear circumstance on Thursday.

Minister of Information Abdirahman Omar Osman confirmed the resignations, saying the defense minister cited personal reasons while no reason was given for the resignation of the army chief barely six months after his appointment.

Osman said the cabinet has approved both resignations and has appointed Abdiweli Jama Hussein as the new Somali National Army (SNA) chief of forces.

"Minister of Defense and Chief of the army resigned today, and the Somali cabinet approved Gen. Abdiweli Jama Hussein (Gorod) as the new chief of the army following the resignation of Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Jimale," Osman said.

Sources said Mohamed who was the first defense minister in Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire's administration which came to office in March, resigned due to lack of consultations on issues touching on his ministry

However, their resignations come amid condemnations over the latest military operations in Barire location in southern Somalia where the army killed 10 civilians and Al-Shabaab's raid on the military base where many government soldiers were killed in the recent past.

A mixed-up in communication forced the government to retract its statement after stating that the 10 people who were killed during the joint operation on Aug. 25 in Barire were Al-Shabaab militants

The government later formed a ministerial team to investigate the killings of the 10 civilians, among them children aged between 13 and 15 years, in joint military operation which involved Somali and U.S. forces.

Mohamed becomes the first minister in the current cabinet to resign from his post after the youngest minister was killed in a terror attack in May.

The resignations also come amid a conflict between the central government and regional states on increased airstrikes by the United States.


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