Four ministers resign from new government

Baidoa, Somalia - Four members of the Somali cabinet on Monday resigned less than 24 hours after being sworn in, dealing Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein his first political setback.

Home security minister Hassan Mohamed Nur, state trade minister Abdikafi Hassan, state reconciliation minister Sheikh Aden Maden and state planning minister Ibrahim Mohamed Isaq said they had been treated with contempt by not being consulted about the nominations.

"We have decided to resign from the new cabinet because there were no consultations on the appointments. We just saw our names on the list," said Nur, an ex-warlord, speaking on behalf of the rest.

Numerous governments and peace initiatives have failed to weather the bloody conflict that has defined Somali politics since a clan uprising ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Hussein, regarded as a political novice, on Sunday named and swore in a 73-member team - 31 ministers, 11 state ministers and 31 assistant ministers - excluding ministers who served his predecessor's regime.

Hussein was guided by a legal rule which says that the four main Somali clans and one minor one should be represented in government on an equal basis.

Ali Mohamed Gedi resigned as premier on October 29 after a long-running feud with President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who had accused him of failing to end an insurgency, draft a new constitution or bolster federal government.

The resignations are the first setback for Hussein, who last month entered politics after decades as a civil servant and the head of the Somali Red Crescent Society.

Five civilians were killed in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday and three in the provincial town of Jowhar, as bloodletting persisted in the Horn of Africa nation, currently facing Africa's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN.

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