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Somalia's president renounces American citizenship

Thursday August 1 2019

Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo.

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo. The president has renounced his second citizenship of the United States. PHOTO | MICHELE SPATARI | AFP 

AFP
By AFP
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Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has renounced his American citizenship, his office announced Thursday, without elaborating on why the dual citizen chose to give up his adopted passport.

Mohamed, known widely by his nickname Farmajo, began the process to relinquish his second citizenship shortly after being elected in 2017, his office said, despite the Somali constitution allowing for dual nationality.

"We are officially informing you that the president has renounced his second citizenship of the United States today," his office said in a statement.

It said the task had involved legal experts from the naturalisation departments of the United States and Somalia. But it gave no further explanation as to why Mohamed gave up the passport.

Mohamed lived in the United States for many years, serving as a diplomat in Washington in the late 1980s before seeking asylum. The father of four children, his family still live in the US.

He served in various administrative roles in the US before returning to his native Somalia as prime minister in 2010, a position he would only hold for eight months.

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He was later elected president in February 2017 and his administration has close ties with Washington in its fight against Al-Shabaab militants.

The US trains Somali special forces and launches regular drone strikes in the country targeting the Islamist insurgency.

Many Somalis hold dual nationality, having fled years of conflict, drought and economic hardship that has plagued the strategic Horn of Africa country since the fall of the autocrat Siad Barre in 1991.