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Somalia’s president says PM suspended as elections spat deepens

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The announcement came a day after the two men sparred over the country's sluggish preparations for elections, with Roble accusing President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who is better known as Farmajo, of sabotaging the polls.On Monday, Farmajo's office said the president had "decided to suspend Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and stop his powers since he was linked with corruption", accusing him of interfering with a probe into a land-grabbing case."The prime minister… is committed to not being deterred by anyone in fulfilling his national duties in order to lead the country to elections that pave the way for peaceful power transfer," said the statement released by Roble's office.The two men have traded accusations in recent days, with Roble alleging that Farmajo did not want to hold "a credible election"."The prime minister has pressurised the minister of defence to divert the investigations of the case relating to the grabbed public land," Monday's statement by Farmajo's office said.The dispute alarmed international observers, prompting the US embassy in Mogadishu to urge Somalia's leaders "to take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions… refrain from provocative actions, and avoid violence."In April, pro-government and opposition fighters opened fire in the streets of Mogadishu after Farmajo extended his term without holding fresh elections.But in the months that followed, a bitter rivalry between the men derailed the election again.Somalia's elections follow a complex indirect model. Nearly 30,000 clan delegates are assigned to choose 275 MPs for the lower house while five state legislatures elect senators for the upper house. Elections for the upper house have concluded in all states and voting for the lower house began in early November.On Sunday, the US State Department said it was "deeply concerned by the continuing delays and by the procedural irregularities that have undermined the credibility of the process".The Al-Qaeda allies were driven out of Mogadishu a decade ago but retain control of swathes of countryside and continue to stage deadly attacks in the capital and elsewhere….



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