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Somalia's president quits after 4 years in power

 Al-Shabaab insurgents, seen, in a vehicle, which they claim was defected from the Somali government side, in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2...
 Al-Shabaab insurgents seen with arms, in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday Dec. 27, 2008. Clashes between two rival Islamist militias in a central Somali ...
  In this Dec. 7, 2007 file photo, Somalia's  President Abdullahi Yusuf speaks to journalists in Nairobi.  Somalia's president has told lawmakers he i...

APTOPIX SOMALIA

Al-Shabaab insurgents, seen, in a vehicle, which they claim was defected from the Somali government side, in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2...

SOMALIA

Al-Shabaab insurgents seen with arms, in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday Dec. 27, 2008. Clashes between two rival Islamist militias in a central Somali ...

Somalia President

In this Dec. 7, 2007 file photo, Somalia's President Abdullahi Yusuf speaks to journalists in Nairobi. Somalia's president has told lawmakers he i...

Somalia's president resigned Monday as the head of his country's U.N.-backed government after four years of leading one of the most violent, impoverished countries in the world.
Abdullahi Yusuf made the announcement in a speech before parliament in Baidoa _ one of the only towns controlled by the weak government, which has been sidelined by an increasingly powerful Islamic insurgency. The speaker of parliament will stand in as acting president until elections.
"When I took power I pledged three things," Yusuf said in his address, which was broadcast on radio nationwide.
"If I was unable to fulfill my duty I will resign. Second, I said I will do everything in my power to make government work across the country. That did not happen either. Third, I asked the leaders to cooperate with me for the common good of the people. That did not happen," he said.
Yusuf's administration failed to bring security to the war-ravaged nation and now only controls pockets of the capital, Mogadishu, and Baidoa. Islamic insurgents control most of the country.
Thousands of civilians have been killed or maimed by mortar shells, machine-gun crossfire and grenades in near-daily fighting in this arid, Horn of Africa country. The United Nations says Somalia has 300,000 acutely malnourished children, but that attacks and kidnappings of aid workers have shut down many humanitarian projects.
The lawlessness also has allowed piracy to flourish off the coast.
Rights groups have accused all sides in the conflict _ Islamic insurgents, the government and troops from neighboring Ethiopia who are here supporting the administration _ of committing war crimes and other serious abuses for indiscriminately firing on civilian neighborhoods.
The most aggressive Islamic insurgency group, al-Shabab, has made dramatic territory gains in the past few months.
The United States accuses al-Shabab of harboring the al-Qaida-linked terrorists who blew up the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Many of the insurgency's senior figures are Islamic radicals; some are on the State Department's list of wanted terrorists.
Yusuf's position has been in doubt since parliament blocked his attempt to fire Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein earlier this month. Ethiopia also announced it would withdraw its troops by the end of December, leaving Yusuf's administration even more vulnerable to insurgents.
The Ethiopians have been in Somalia for nearly two years, after helping drive out an earlier group of Islamic insurgents who had taken over most of the country. But the insurgents swiftly regrouped and have gained significant power once again.


Updated : 2021-03-01 19:08 GMT+08:00