Somali PM quits in power fight

RESIGNED: Mohamed Gedi. Pic. Khalil Senosi. 28/10/07. © AP.
RESIGNED: Mohamed Gedi. Pic. Khalil Senosi. 28/10/07. © AP.

MOGADISHU - Embattled Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi resigned yesterday, losing a long power struggle with the president.

MOGADISHU - Embattled Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi resigned yesterday, losing a long power struggle with the president.

Officials said Gedi submitted his resignation to President Abdullahi Yusuf in the southern city of Baidoa, where he addressed lawmakers in parliament. Yusuf accepted the resignation.

Gedi and Yusuf have been struggling against each other for months over division of powers and other issues and the resignation had been expected.

The government has drifted during the leadership struggle as Islamic insurgents launched attacks against government troops and allied Ethiopian forces in the capital Mogadishu.

Gedi's departure could allow the government to refocus its efforts on security in the country. But if members of Gedi's Abgal clan - among the country's largest - refuse to support the government, the government could be further weakened. Many believe another prime minister from the clan will be named.

In Mogadishu, hundreds of demonstrators marched through the streets in a second day of protests against the presence of the Ethiopian troops in the country.

Protesters burned tyres, blocked roads with stones and logs in parts of the city.

Sporadic gunfire was heard in the city, and there was some shelling. At least one person was reported killed. A woman selling petrol in the street was killed by a shell.

Medina Hospital said six civilians with gunshot wounds were admitted.

Mogadishu has been plagued by violence since government troops and their Ethiopian allies drove out the Council of Islamic Courts in December. For six months, the Islamic group had controlled much of southern Somalia, and remnants have vowed to fight on. Thousands of civilians have been killed in the fighting this year. - Sapa-AP

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