Somalia's prime minister has sacked Mogadishu's powerful mayor, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, exposing a possible rift at the top of the country's embattled interim administration.
Mohamed Dheere, a former warlord who has run the anarchic capital since early last year, is seen as a close ally of President Abdullahi Yusuf. A senior official said Yusuf had not approved Dheere's dismissal.
Dheere's fighters have been heavily involved in battles against Islamist fighters
Government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon said Dheere was fired by Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein over alleged mis-use of funds and worsening insecurity in the city.
Gobdon told reporters Yusuf had approved the prime minister's order, but senior government sources contested that.
"President Yusuf has not approved the decree dismissing the mayor at all," one senior official said, adding that there were tensions between Yusuf and Hussein behind the scenes.
Dheere told reporters that he was content to have lost his job -- provided Yusuf agreed he leave -- because it showed the Horn of Africa nation's government was working as it should.
"My post was handed to my brother and tomorrow it will be given to another person," he said. "I have made lots of progress in the city and the new mayor will continue from there."
Somalia has not had a functioning central government since warlords toppled a military dictator in 1991.
Last Mod: 31 Temmuz 2008, 08:40