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Somalia MPs hospitalized after fourth brawl in parliament

MOGADISHU, Somalia Jan 4 2012 (Garowe Online) - At least four Somali MPs were hospitalized Wednesday after a fistfight broke out again in Parliament for the fourth time since last month, Radio Garowe reports.

MPs who supported Speaker Sharif Hassan were forced to run out of Parliament after they clashed with MPs who voted to remove him as Speaker of Parliament in a controversial vote on Dec. 13, 2011.

READ: Parliamentarians fistfight for 3rd time over Speaker vote

Some MPs sustained head and body injuries and at least four legislators were hospitalized after some MPs used tables and chairs as weapons.

According to sources, Somali government forces and AMISOM peacekeepers and stationed at Parliament did not intervene while the brawls continued inside. The supporters of Sharif Hassan were fewer in number and were chased out of parliament hall.

This comes days after TFG President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed publicly stated that the Dec. 13 vote to "remove" Speaker Sharif Hassan was unlawful and contradicts the Kampala Accord, the document that extended for the present year the Transitional Federal Institutions, including the parliament.

Controversy continues: 'New Speaker'

On Wednesday, the dissident group of MPs voted for a new speaker and elected MP Nunow Madobe. The MPs claimed that they numbered 287 MPs, but the figure could not be independently verified.

Reliable sources reported that the MPs numbered around 170.

The violent dispute in Parliament has been escalating over the motion to remove Sharif Hassan as Speaker. Parliament sources said voting for Mr. Nunow as Speaker creates a new political dilemma and extends the parliament infighting.

The mandate of the TFIs, including the parliament, expires on 20 August 2012, when presidential elections are expected to be held as a reduced parliament votes for a new president, according to the Garowe Principles agreement, which is part of the Roadmap process.

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