President Abdullahi Yusuf named the chief of Somalia’s Red Crescent Society as the country’s new prime minister Thursday, ending weeks of speculation and political uncertainty.

RW Nuur Xassan

New Prime Minister

 Halkaan ka akhri

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — President Abdullahi Yusuf named the chief of Somalia’s Red Crescent Society as the country’s new prime minister Thursday, ending weeks of speculation and political uncertainty.

The appointment of Nur Hassan Hussein to replace Ali Mohamed Gedi — who stepped down last month amid disagreement with Yusuf over their roles and powers — comes as the transitional government is struggling with a deadly insurgency in the capital.

“I will try my best to surmount problems plaguing the country within less than two years,” Hussein said on the radio. “I will give priority to security and reconciliation issues and facilitating humanitarian assistance.”

Yusuf said he chose Hussein, known as Nur Ade, “after lengthy consultations.” The transitional parliament, where most legislators are allied to Yusuf, was expected to approve the appointment.

Hussein is a member of one of Somalia’s largest clans, the Hawiye, as is his predecessor, and his appointment is expected to maintain the power balance among clans.

“We expect him to build an effective government that will be able to save the country from the current hardship,” Yusuf said in Baidoa, 155 miles southwest of the capital, Mogadishu.

Somalia has been mired in violence since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned their heavily armed supporters on one another. The Horn of Africa nation is flooded with weapons and divided among warring clans.

In October 2004, a transitional government, led by Yusuf, was created according to a clan-based formula negotiated by clan elders, warlords and other representatives of society.

However, the government has struggled to exert control, and last year, an Islamic group called the Council of Islamic Courts seized control of the capital and much of southern Somalia. Ethiopian forces came to the aid of the government in December, helping Somali troops rout Islamic fighters and regain control of the capital.

The Islamic group fought back, threatening an Iraq-style insurgency. Thousands in Mogadishu have been killed this year in near-daily rounds of gunbattles, grenade and mortar attacks.

For close to three decades, Hussein — a Mogadishu native — has worked with the Somali Red Crescent Society, joining in 1976 and becoming secretary general in 1990.

Hussein was a security adviser during the early years of Barre’s 22-year rule. He also worked for a time as a deputy prosecutor in the National Salvation Court, which later became infamous when Barre used it to pass harsh sentences against his opponents.

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