Somalia’s new president names 26-minister cabinet

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Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud speaks during a news conference after the High Level Partnership Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
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MOGADISHU – Somalia’s new president named a 26-strong cabinet on Tuesday, including a former foreign affairs chief as finance minister and a BBC journalist as the country’s top diplomat.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed – better known by his nickname, Farmajo – was sworn in last month after unseating Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, whose administration faced public and Western criticism for corruption scandals.

A dual U.S.-Somali citizen and a former prime minister, Mohamed has promised to tackle hunger, corruption and violence in Somalia, which has been mired in civil war for a quarter of a century.

On Tuesday, he named Abdirahman Duale Beyle as his finance minister and Yusuf Garaad Omar as foreign minister. Beyle, a former economist at the African Development Bank, served as foreign minister from 2014 to 2015. Omar, a dual British-Somali national, was head of the BBC’s Somali language service.

Other appointments included Abdi Farah Juha, a political novice who was named interior minister.

Last month, Mohamed made his first senior appointment by naming Hassan Ali Khaire, the former country director of the British company Soma Oil and Gas, as prime minister.

The appointment was controversial, because U.N. sanctions experts had previously accused Soma of paying Somalia’s oil ministry nearly $600,000 to protect a 2013 exploration contract. Britain’s Serious Fraud Office investigated but found insufficient evidence to prosecute.

Somalia has been in turmoil since 1991, hit by decades of conflict at the hands of clan militias. Over the past several years, it has faced an insurgency by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, which the government is battling with the help of regional troops.   Continued…

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