New Somali Prime Minister Will Face Security, Humanitarian Crises

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Somalia's embattled transitional President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was slated on Wednesday to nominate a successor to interim Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi, who quit last month during a spike in insurgent violence in the capital of Mogadishu that claimed hundreds of lives.

The new prime minister faces a daunting task -- holding together a fragile and unpopular government (based for security reasons in the northern town of Baidoa) while organizing security forces to fight alongside Ethiopian troops that have occupied Mogadishu since routing the hard line Islamic Courts regime last December.

Local press reports indicate that former police colonel Nur Hussein Hassan, who has also worked for the Red Cross in Somalia, is the likely nominee. Hassan will enter office with just two-and-a-half years remaining in the transitional government's promised five-year tenure, at the end of which federal elections are to be held. In light of southern Somalia's degenerating security, the compressed timeline represents "a very difficult task," says Abdirizak Osman Hassan, a veteran member of parliament who was sharply critical of Gedi's performance.

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