BAIDOA, Somalia Dec 17 (Garowe Online) -
Somalia's interim prime minister withdrew his Cabinet on Monday and pledged to appoint a smaller team while at least eight people died in ongoing violence in the capital, Mogadishu.
Prime Minister Nur "Adde" Hassan Hussein met with Somali legislators in the south-central town of Baidoa, parliament's temporary base.
"I am hopeful that parliament will ratify the new change with a smaller, more effective administration," Prime Minister Nur Adde told lawmakers gathered at the Monday luncheon.
He downscaled from a 31-minister Cabinet to a slimmer profile with 18 Cabinet ministers and five deputies. The new Cabinet appointments will be equally selected from inside and outside the parliament, according to the premier.
|Somali Prime Minister Nur Adde|
Changes were made after consultations with various parties, including international diplomats, Somali government officials and the public, who expressed stiff resistance to his old Cabinet dominated by parliamentarians and former government officials.
In Mogadishu, fighting between government security forces and insurgents killed at least 8 people, including four civilians who died when a mortar hit a restaurant inside Bakara market, the country's biggest marketplace.
Residents said it was unclear where the mortar came from or who was pounding the civilian areas, but today's mortar attack came less than a week after a similar attack on Bakara market killed at least 10 people.
Contacts at two Mogadishu hospitals confirmed to Garowe Online that a total of 40 wounded victims were admitted since Sunday night.
Face-to-face combat was reported along Industry Road, with fighting spreading into surrounding neighborhoods.
The government of Prime Minister Nur Adde's greatest challenge is to bring an end to a violent insurgency that has already killed thousands and forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.
Insurgent groups waging war on the interim government and its foreign allies have vowed to continue their bloody guerrilla campaign until Ethiopian troops withdraw from Somalia.
Source: Garowe Online