Somalia’s interim President, Abdullahi Yusuf, officially relieved of duty Mogadishu’s notorious mayor, Mohamed Dheere Omar, Radio Garowe reported Tuesday.
A decree issued from the Office of the President named Mr. Ibrahim Sheikh Muhiyadin as the Somali capital’s caretaker mayor, who also holds the dual post of Banadir governor.
Both Prime Minister Nur Adde Hassan Hussein and ex-Mayor Mohamed Dheere were present at the ceremony, whereby new Mayor Muhiyadin and his 11-person team took office.
Mohamed Dheere, a former warlord, said he welcomed the new administration and pledged to transfer power respectfully.
The decree indicated that the Somali president’s decision to replace Mogadishu’s local government is in line with an agreement inked in Addis Ababa last month, which ended a feud between President Yusuf and Prime Minister Nur Adde.
Government officials said the new mayor has no connection to warlords or to Islamists, while underscoring that the President consulted with the Prime Minister before naming the caretaker mayor.
According to President Yusuf’s decree, the caretaker Mogadishu administration is supposed to prepare the region for elections within a two-week period.
Meanwhile, violent attacks continue in Mogadishu with at least six people reported killed within the past 24 hours.
In Mogadishu’s Suuk Ba’ad, the capital’s second-largest marketplace, insurgents ambushed a police car and killed two officers. A third officer and a civilian bystander were wounded in the crossfire, witnesses added.
Separately, four people were killed overnight Monday after insurgents attacked the home of deputy police commander of Dharkinley district.
Two civilians were among the dead, with witnesses saying the other two dead bodies « belonged to the fighting sides. »
The Somali Islamic Front claimed responsibility for the attack, with their spokesman Farhan Ilmoge saying the attack was revenge for a girl who was raped recently. He also claimed that the insurgents killed seven police officers.
But Somali police spokesman Abdullahi Hassan Barise rejected the claim, saying no one was hurt among the police officers.
Somalia has been marred by violence since 1991, when the Horn of Africa country’s last effective ruler was overthrown by warlords.
Ethiopia deployed troops into south-central Somalia in December 2006, after Islamist militias who then ruled Mogadishu threatened to topple the country’s UN-endorsed interim government.
An anti-government, anti-Ethiopia insurgency has been raging since, with upwards of 8,000 people killed in the conflict so far.