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Power Play Shifts in Horn of Africa as Somalia Elects New Leader

  • President Mohamud has long-standing ties with Ethiopian rebels
  • Mohamud returns for second term as president after five years
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, right, after his swearing in, in Mogadishu, on May 16.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, right, after his swearing in, in Mogadishu, on May 16.Photographer: Abukar Mohamed Muhudin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s return as Somalia’s president is set to reshape the war-torn nation’s relationship with neighboring Eritrea and Ethiopia, with far-reaching repercussions across the Horn of Africa region. 

Mohamud, 66, who governed Somalia from 2012 to 2017, beat incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known locally as Farmajo, in a final round of voting to reclaim the post on May 15. While Farmajo forged close relations with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, Mohamud has long-standing ties with the rulers of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, who fought a war with Abiy’s forces and its Eritrean allies from late 2020 until a truce was agreed in March.