Somalia’s top military chiefs resign, no reason given

By Abdi Sheikh-MOGADISHU, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Two of Somalia’s
highest-ranking military officials have resigned, state outlets
said on Thursday, in moves that could deal a blow to the
war-torn Horn of Africa country’s efforts to fight Islamist
militants.

Somalia has been at war since 1991, when clan-based warlords
overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

For a decade, the weak U.N.-backed government has also been
fighting alongside African Union troops against Al Shabaab,
which aims to topple the government and impose its own strict
interpretation of Islam.

On Thursday, state-owned Radio Muqdisho said the army’s
Chief of Defence Forces Ahmed Jimale Gedi had stepped down and
Defence Minister Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed had submitted his
resignation to President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo’s cabinet.

“The Cabinet appointed General Abdiweli Jama Hussein …
after Ahmed Jimale Gedi resigned on Thursday,” the radio station
said, adding that Mohamed’s bid was also accepted.

Radio Muqdishu did not disclose the reasons behind their
decisions. Neither the officials themselves nor government
spokespeople were immediately available for comment.

Al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab was driven out of the capital
Mogadishu in 2010, but their deadly attacks remain one of the
main obstacles to stability in the chaotic nation, which lies
along one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

Somalia’s rebuilding efforts have also been hampered by clan
rivalries. Rival regions still sometimes take up arms against
each other.
(Writing by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com