Conflict & Justice

Somalia: Fist fights in parliament over new speaker


A member of Somalia's parliament is led away after being injured in fistfights as lawmakers elected a new speaker in a move condemned by the troubled nation's president as 'null and void' on January 4, 2012. Several supporters of Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan — sacked as speaker in a controversial move last month by 280 MPs — were injured in the latest of several parliamentary brawls.


Abdurashid Abdulle

Fist fights broke out again in Somalia's parliament over the choice of speaker. 

Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan was sacked as speaker last month in a controversial move that sparked wild brawls.

Lawmakers elected a new speaker Wednesday, triggering more fist fights, with several of Adan's supporters injured in the fracas, according to Agence France-Presse. 

Somalia's transitional government controls only Mogadishu, defended from al Shabaab rebels by 10,000 African Union peacekeepers.

The BBC reported on the violence:

Punches were thrown, MPs hit each other with chairs, some used pens to stab one another. Three were taken to hospital.

In a vote, a majority of Somalia's 287 lawmakers chose Madobe Nunow to be parliamentary speaker, AFP reported.

But Somalia's President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in a committee meeting condemned Nunow's election, calling it "null and void." 

AFP reported:

The apparent inability of Somalia's transitional leadership to conduct even its own parliament peacefully offers a grim prospect for the war-torn nation, where elections are due August under a UN-backed deal.

Adan was impeached in December by MPs upset that he had not convened the 550-seat parliament for two months. 

More from GlobalPost: Somalia News: Parliament erupts in fighting