'Sacked' Somali PM vows to continue his job

Somalia’s prime minister vowed to continue his job today as MPs passed a confidence vote after the president attempted to fire him.

Somalia’s prime minister vowed to continue his job today as MPs passed a confidence vote after the president attempted to fire him.

The prime minister, Nur Hassan Hussein, survived a no-confidence vote in parliament by 143-20, with seven abstaining. The vote went ahead even though President Abdullahi Yusuf fired Hussein yesterday, accusing him of paralysing a government plagued by “corruption, inefficiency and treason.”

But Hussein said the president lacked the authority to fire him without parliament’s approval.

“The only obstacle ahead of my government was the president, and since I have the confidence of the MPs I hope it will be effective henceforth,” Hussein told members of parliament after the vote.

It was not clear what will become of the Somalia’s fractured, UN-backed administration, which has been sidelined by Islamic militants and is veering toward collapse. The insurgents held a news conference in the capital, Mogadishu, yesterday – a brazen move that shows their increasing power – and vowed never to negotiate with the leadership.

The insurgents have taken over most of the country and move freely in the capital, Mogadishu.

Somalia has been without an effective government since 1991, when warlords overthrew a dictatorship and then turned on one another. The country is now at a dangerous crossroads.

Ethiopia, which has been protecting the Somali government, recently announced it would withdraw its troops by the end of this month. That will leave the government vulnerable to Islamic insurgents, who began a brutal insurgency in 2007.

In the past they have brought a semblance of security to the country, but have done it by carrying out public executions and floggings. On Saturday, fighters loyal to the most powerful arm of the Islamist movement – al-Shabab – publicly executed by firing squad two men accused of killing their parents.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the violence surrounding the insurgency, with thousands killed or maimed by mortar shells, machine-gun crossfire and grenades. The United Nations says there are 300,000 acutely malnourished children in Somalia, but attacks and kidnappings of aid workers have shut down many humanitarian projects.

The lawlessness allows piracy to flourish off the coast, with bandits taking in about £20m (€22.24m) in ransom this year.

The US worries Somalia could be a terrorist breeding ground, and accuses al-Shabab – “The Youth” – of harbouring the al Qaida-linked terrorists who blew up the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

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