Somalia gets a new president

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been elected asSomalia’s new president by the country’s parliament. Even Somalia’s parliament is quite new. More than 200 members of the parliament were elected about a month ago by some respected elders in the country. Somalia could not hold elections to choose the members of parliament because of safety concerns in the country. Instead, some elders were called upon to make the selection. Somalia also has a new constitution which gives citizens more rights. It promises free education up to secondary school for kids.

Somalia has had an ongoing war, and has not had an effective government for over 20 years. The country was created by joining two territories governed by the United Kingdom and Italy in 1960. In 1991, the different clans in Somalia overthrew the government of the country that had ruled for over 20 years. Since then, different groups have been fighting to gain control of the country. In 2004, a government was put in place in Somalia with help from the international community, but this government had not been able to control the country.  The northern area of Somalia (called Somaliland) declared itself an independent country in 1991. The southern part of the country was controlled by various groups, the main being a group called al-Shabab. Even parts of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, were under al-Shabab’s control. Troops from other African countries helped fight back al-Shabab in Mogadishu, and in 2011, Mogadishu came back under the government’s control.  Al-Shabab is still a big threat to the government of Somalia.

War is not the only thing Somalia has suffered. Last year there was a very serious food shortage in the country caused by a drought.

If you thought pirates only existed in books and movies, think again! One thing Somalia has become really famous for is its pirates. Many ships travel through the waters around Somalia. Some Somali gangs capture ships, and demand money for their return. According to the International Maritime Bureau, out of all the attacks on ships and boats around the globe last year, over half were off the coast of Somalia.

Image Credits: VOA for Mohamud image