Somalia’s top military chiefs resign, no reason given

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Somalia’s newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo attends his inauguration ceremony in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Two of Somalia’s highest-ranking military officials have resigned, state outlets said on Thursday, in moves that could deal a blow to the war-torn Horn of Africa country’s efforts to fight Islamist militants, Reuters reports.

On Thursday, state-owned Radio Muqdisho said the army’s Chief of Defence Forces Ahmed Jimale Gedi had stepped down and Defence Minister Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed had submitted his resignation to President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo cabinet, the report said.

According to a report by the radio, the Cabinet appointed General Abdiweli Jama Hussein after Ahmed Jimale Gedi resigned on Thursday.

The reason for their resignation is not yet known.

Somalia has been at war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

For a decade, the weak U.N.-backed government has also been fighting alongside African Union troops against Al Shabaab, which aims to topple the government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam, the report further said.

The country’s rebuilding efforts have also been hampered by clan rivalries. Rival regions still sometimes take up arms against each other.

The resignations could be a setback for the country’s fledgling army, which will be tasked with maintaining security once African Union troops start withdrawing from the country next year.