Top Somali military men resign

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

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 UN-backed government has been fighting alongside African Union troops against Al Shabaab, which aims to topple the government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.

On Thursday, state-owned Radio Muqdisho said Chief of Defence Forces Ahmed Jimale Gedi stepped down and Defence Minister Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed submitted his resignation to President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo’s cabinet.
“The Cabinet appointed General Abdiweli Jama Hussein … after Ahmed Jimale Gedi resigned on Thursday,” the radio station said, adding Mohamed’s resignation was accepted.

Radio Muqdishu did not disclose reasons behind the resignations. Neither the officials themselves nor government spokespeople were immediately available for comment.

Al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab was driven out of Mogadishu in 2010, but their attacks remain an obstacle to stability in the chaotic nation, which lies along one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

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