Date: Sun Dec 20 2009 - 23:46:41 EST
Somalia replaces top security officials
(AP) -- The Somali government replaced its police and army chiefs Sunday
ahead of a planned military offensive, the Somali information minister
The reshuffle came as fresh clashes between insurgents and government
forces in the ruined capital of Mogadishu killed six people, including a
mother and two young children.
Government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdoon announced that former police
commander Abdi Hassan Awale was being replaced by Maj. Gen. Ali Mohamed
Hasan and former army chief Gen. Yusuf Hussein Dhumal was replaced by Lt.
Gen. Mohamed Gele Kahiye.
Gobdoon said the two had failed to restore security to Somalia and the new
appointments were part of a plan to strengthen the security institutions
ahead of a military operation. His comments marked the first public
confirmation of a planned military push against the insurgents.
The government currently barely controls a few blocks of the capital with
the help of a 5,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force.
Shelling in the capital on Sunday killed six people, said businessman
Abdulle Dahir, including a woman and her 6-year-old son and 2-year-old
Last Thursday a suicide bomber killed 24 people in the capital.
Somalia has not had a functioning government for more than 18 years. The
government is fighting an Islamist insurgency but neither side is united.
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