Somalia’s new prime minister names 26-minister cabinet

Somalia’s new prime minister named a 26-strong cabinet on Tuesday, including a former foreign affairs chief as finance minister and a BBC journalist as the country’s top diplomat.

Hassan Ali Khaire, who was appointed to the post by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed last month, read out his list of cabinet ministers to reporters.

President Mohamed was sworn in last month after unseating Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, whose administration faced public and Western criticism for corruption scandals.

A dual U.S.-Somali citizen and a former prime minister, President Mohamed has promised to tackle hunger, corruption and violence in Somalia, which has been mired in civil war for a quarter of a century.

On Tuesday, the prime minister named Abdirahman Duale Beyle as his finance minister and Yusuf Garaad Omar as foreign minister. Beyle, a former economist at the African Development Bank, served as foreign minister from 2014 to 2015. Omar, a dual British-Somali national, was head of the BBC’s Somali language service.

Other appointments included Abdi Farah Juha, a political novice who was named interior minister.

Khaire was the former country director of the British company, Soma Oil and Gas.

His own appointment by the president was controversial, because U.N. sanctions experts had previously accused Soma of paying Somalia’s oil ministry nearly $600,000 to protect a 2013 exploration contract. Britain’s Serious Fraud Office investigated but found insufficient evidence to prosecute.

Somalia has been in turmoil since 1991, hit by decades of conflict at the hands of clan militias. Over the past several years, it has faced an insurgency by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, which the government is battling with the help of regional troops.

President Mohamed has pledged to his people that the era of al Shabaab and other Islamist militant groups was over, promising the group’s fighters “a good life” if they surrendered