(ANSA) – MOGADISCIO, 07 AUG – Mortar shells hit the neighborhoods near the presidential palace in Mogadishu today, without causing casualties, shortly after Parliament approved the composition of the government, a sign of the challenges facing the new leaders.
Already threatened by imminent famine due to the worst drought in 40 years, Somalia has faced intensifying attacks by the Islamist insurgency movement al Shabaab in recent months.
Today “several mortar rounds were fired at civilian areas in the Warta-Nabadda district,” said Mohamed Abdifatah, a security official in the area. A witness said that a grenade damaged a private hospital. The attacks, which have not been claimed, come after Parliament, meeting today, approved the composition of the government presented on August 2 by Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, with 229 votes in favor, seven against and one abstention. Barre, appointed on June 15 by the new president Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, elected in May, has formed a team of 75 ministers and deputy ministers. Among them, Muktar Robow, 53, alias Abu Mansour, former leader of the radical Islamist group Shabaab, linked to al-Qaeda jihadists and from which he defected in 2017, holds the position of minister of religious affairs.
According to the United Nations, 7.1 million Somalis, nearly half of the population, suffer from severe food insecurity. The drought also caused the displacement of 918,000 people. (HANDLE).