Somalia Inaugurates New President

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud sworn in days after assassination attempt
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 16, 2012 8:49 AM CDT
Somalia Inaugurates New President
Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud speaks at a press conference shortly before two explosions occurred near the gate of his temporary home at the Jazeera Hotel in Mogadishu Wednesday.   (Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Somalia's new leader was inaugurated today amid tight security in the capital, Mogadishu, four days after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud survived an assassination attempt. Mohamud, a teacher and activist, won the election last week against outgoing President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed by the legislative vote of 190 to 79. The inauguration ceremony was attended by regional leaders including the PM of Ethiopia and president of Djibouti.

The attempt on Mohamud's life highlighted the serious security challenges he faces as he takes the helm of a volatile country. Mohamud himself acknowledged this fact today, vowing to create "an effective justice system" that serves all Somalis. "I promise (that) my government will deliver a new democratic beginning," he said. The UN-backed political process that resulted in Mohamud's election was condemned by Islamist militants who said it was manipulated by the West. But Mohamud has the support of the international community, which wants him to bring stability to the troubled Horn of Africa nation. Mohamud faces an uphill task in the face of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist insurgency and rebuilding a bombed-out infrastructure, food security, and institutions. (Read more Hassan Sheikh Mohamud stories.)

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