Somalia’s new president sworn in under shadow of Islamist challenge
Somalia’s new leader was inaugurated yesterday amid tight security in the capital, Mogadishu, four days after President Hassan Skeikh Mohamud survived an assassination attempt.
Mr Mohamud, a teacher and activist, won the election last week against outgoing president Sheik Sharif Sheikh Ahmed by the legislative vote of 190 to 79.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by some regional leaders, including the prime minister of Ethiopia and the president of Djibouti.
The attempt on Mr Mohamud’s life on his second day in office highlighted the serious security challenges he faces as he takes the helm of a volatile country that has not had a stable government for more than two decades. Mr Mohamud himself acknowledged this fact, saying in his inauguration remarks that security was the paramount issue. He promised to be a democrat and to create “an effective justice system” that serves all Somalis.
“I promise [that] my government will deliver a new democratic beginning,” he told a congregation at the Police Academy, the same venue where he was elected.
His predecessor, Mr Ahmed, said in his remarks that he was happy that a degree of security had returned to Mogadishu. He wished Mr Mohamud success.
The UN-backed political process that resulted in Mr Mohamud’s election was condemned by Islamist militants, who said it was manipulated by the West. But Mr Mohamud has the support of the international community, which wants him to succeed and bring stability to the troubled Horn of Africa nation.
Augustine Mahiga, the top UN representative to Somalia, said the inauguration of Mohamud was a watershed moment for Somalia.
“This marks the end of the transitional period and the beginning of a new era for Somalia,” Mr Mahiga said.
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