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At inauguration, Somali president calls on al Shabaab to surrender

By Reuters | Updated Thu, February 23rd 2017 at 07:26 GMT +3
Somalia's newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo attends his inauguration ceremony in Somalia's capital Mogadishu (PHOTO: REUTERS)

MOGADISHU: Somalia's new president was inaugurated on Wednesday, promising his people that the era of al Shabaab and other Islamist militant groups was over.

Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a dual U.S.-Somali citizen, called on al Shabaab's thousands of fighters to surrender, promising them "a good life" if they did.

"To those who work with al Qaeda, al Shabaab and IS (Islamic State), your time is finished," he said at the inauguration ceremony, attended by the leaders of neighboring states.

"You have been misled, destroyed property and killed many Somalis. Come and we shall give you good life," he said.

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.

On Sunday a suicide bomb in a crowded market in the capital Mogadishu killed dozens of people.

As well as the security situation, Mohamed, who was elected by lawmakers on Feb. 8, faces the challenge of cutting corruption.

"Our government will not loot but will help its people. We shall fight insecurity, economic crisis and unemployment," he said.

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