Citing security challenges stemming from an Islamic insurgency, Somalia's president is ruling out the possibility of holding elections that are due next year, The New York Times reported Thursday saying opposition parties however charge that that his government is taking advantage of poor security to extend its mandate through postponement of elections.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud whose term expires in August reportedly said in a statement that National elections are impossible amid rampant violence orchestrated by the Somali Islamic extremist group al-Shabab.
According to reports, the Somali leader denied the opposition allegations. In his statement, he said that his government intends to focus on a review of the Constitution as well as building a strong national army.
The New York Times says Mohamud's government which came to power in 2012 has struggled to assert its authority across the Horn of Africa nation. Although al-Shabab militants have been driven out of their major strongholds over the years, they still control some parts of rural Somalia from which they plot attacks.
Al-Shabab, which has ties with al-Qaida, has stepped up lethal attacks in recent months, targeting African Union forces, government officials and foreigners.
On Sunday, at least 15 people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden truck at the upscale Jazeera Hotel in the capital, Mogadishu.