By Mohammed Dhaysane
Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was inaugurated as Somalia’s new president amid tight security in the country’s capital Mogadishu on Wednesday.
Regional leaders including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh attended the inauguration ceremony at a former air force base located inside Adan Adde International airport.
“I will focus on building the capacity of the Somali national army and I will fight poverty, corruption and al-Shabaab — which killed over 900 Somali people last year. I will restore the rule of law,” Somalia’s new president said.
“Al-Shabaab is a small terror group; we are 12 million. We can overcome al-Shabaab together,” he added.
Regional leaders urged the international community to support Somalia’s new president and his government.
Kani Torun, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s special envoy at the ceremony, said the Turkish government was very proud of Somali’s new administration.
“Since the Turkish mission was established in Somalia we gave our Somali brothers huge support to become a regional star again. The Turkish government has been with Somalia and will be forever,” Torun said.
On Tuesday, the Somali government declared a 48-hour curfew, and a no-fly zone was also declared above Mogadishu for the security of regional leaders’ visit.
Over 600 members of the security forces, including African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) forces, were deployed.
Lawmakers and foreign diplomats also attended the ceremony.
On Feb. 8 Farmajo won elections in the second round with 184 votes, becoming the country’s ninth president.
Outgoing president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the second-place candidate, received 97 votes. Farmajo was selected from among 22 candidates and will serve a four-year term.
Militant group al-Shabaab described the new president as an “American puppet” and vowed to keep fighting against his government.
Last week at least 32 people were killed, including Somali government soldiers, in an attack that targeted a market in Mogadishu.
More than 20,000 foreign troops are currently stationed in Somalia as part of the AMISOM operation fighting al-Shabaab