, MOGADISHU, Sept 7 – Somalia’s government on Sunday fired the country’s powerful intelligence chief after less than two months in the job, saying he had failed “to fulfil his commitments”, a spokesman said.
The intelligence chief, Abdulahi Mohamed Ali, had been appointed as part of a major overhaul of security services in July in the wake of an attack by the country’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab group against the presidential palace in Mogadishu.
“Cabinet members gathered for a session this morning to discuss several issues including security, and during their session, the cabinet fired the chief of intelligence for failing to fulfil his commitments,” government spokesman Ridwan Haji Abdiweli told reporters.
He gave no further explanation for the decision, although Shabaab militants have continued to stage high profile attacks in the capital, including against the parliament and more recently the national intelligence headquarters.
There have also been increased concerns that the militants have been able to re-establish a foothold in parts of the capital, according to security sources.
The decision by the country’s internationally-backed government comes after the United States confirmed it had killed the leader of the Shabaab, Ahmed Abdi Godane, in an air strike on Monday.
The militants acknowledged on Saturday that Godane was dead, and named a successor Ahmad Umar, also known as Abu Ubaidah — believed to be a ruthless hardliner with a similar global jihadist agenda to Godane.
The Shabaab also renewed a pledge of allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor, and vowed to avenge Godane’s death.
On Saturday Somalia’s national security minister, Kalif Ahmed Ereg, said the country was on high alert because the militants were ” planning to carry out desperate attacks against medical facilities, education centres and other government facilities.”