Carleton alum named Somalian PM

A former Carleton University student has been tasked with restoring order to the failed Horn of Africa state following his appointment as prime minister of Somalia on Saturday.

A former Carleton University student has been tasked with restoring order to the failed Horn of Africa state following his appointment as prime minister of Somalia on Saturday.

After a 414-to-nine vote in his favour, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, 48, took the oath of office at a session of the legislature in Djibouti.

“I will form a government of national unity that will give top priority to peace and security,” he said. “The nation and the people are waiting for us.”

The son of Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke — an elected president assassinated in 1969 — has both Canadian and Somali citizenship even though his family base is in Virginia.

Sharmarke and President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who chose Sharmarke to try to broaden the appeal of his government at home and abroad, are now faced with the task of bringing peace to Somalia for the first time in 18 years.

Armed Islamist insurgents have declared jihad against the new power-sharing government.

In Mogadishu, several hundred people held a rally in favour of the new prime minister.

“I am more optimistic about the future of Somalia than I have been in a number of years,” Professor David Shinn, an Africa expert at George Washington University, told Reuters.

 
 
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