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Somalia’s power-hungry president has taken his country to the brink

Mohamed abdullahi mohamed, better known to his people as Farmaajo, was once a popular figure. Residents in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, welcomed him to the presidency in 2017 with celebratory gunfire. They saw him as a reformer who would fight corruption. There were indeed some reforms, enough to secure promises of debt relief from the World Bank and imf. But Mr Mohamed’s chief interest seemed to be the accumulation of power, so much so that, when his term expired in February, he refused to give it up.

Setting off a political crisis is always a risky business. Unleashing one in a country that has known little peace for 30 years, and where your opponents are at least as well armed as you are, seems doubly foolhardy. On the evening of April 25th violence duly broke out in Mogadishu. This time there was nothing celebratory about the gunfire. Somalis were shooting not into the air but at each other.

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