New Somali president vows to put an end to militancy

Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known in Somalia by his nickname "Farmajo," pledges to cut down on corruption as he takes office.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo addresses lawmakers at the airport after winning the vote, in Somalia. (File photo)

Somalia's news president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed promised his people that the era of al-Shabaab and other militant groups was over at his inauguration ceremony on Wednesday in Mogadishu.

Mohammed, who's known as Farmajo, was elected two weeks ago. His inauguration took place under high security.

Farmajo, who holds degrees from the State University of New York in Buffalo, was prime minister for eight months before leaving the post in 2011. He had lived in the United States since 1985 when he was sent there with Somalia's foreign affairs ministry.

The new president called on thousands of al-Shabaab fighters to surrender, promising them "a good life" if they did.

"To those who work with al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and Daesh your time is finished," he said at the inauguration ceremony.

"You have been misled, destroyed property and killed many Somalis. Come and we shall give you good life," he added.

Somalia has been in turmoil since 1991, hit by decades of conflict at the hands of clan militias. Over the past several years it has faced an insurgency by al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab, which the government is battling with the help of regional troops.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed succeeds outgoing president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was praised by speakers for his statesmanship over the peaceful handover of power.

Heads of state of neighbouring countries and representatives of international organisations including the United Nations and the African Union were among the dignitaries who gathered for the event.

Western donors welcomed his election. The European Union urged him to tackle corruption, while the United States called the transition a "step forward" despite concerns about irregularities. Opponents had accused each other of vote-buying.

TRT World spoke with Ahmed Soliman, a researcher from the Horn of Africa Project, about the latest developments.

TRTWorld and agencies