The political rift between two of Somalia’s top leaders worsened Monday when President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed announced that he is suspending Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.
A spokesman for President Mohamed, popularly known as Farmajo, said he took the action due to an investigation into an illegal purchase of public land involving Prime Minister Roble.
Roble’s suspension comes a day after the prime minister accused Mohamed of sabotaging parliamentary elections.
Reuters is reporting that security forces have been deployed around Roble’s offices, which the country’s assistant information minister has described as “an indirect coup.”
The feuding leaders had reached an agreement earlier this year that would allow 101 delegates to select members of parliament, who would choose the next head of the state.
Observers warn the feud between Farmajo and Roble could distract the government from the ongoing threat from the violent al Qaida-linked al Shabab insurgent group, which has fought the central government in a bid to seize power and impose sharia law in Somalia, which has been plagued by decades of chaos and conflict since the overthrow of former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.