Africa

Somalia leader declares country a war zone, replaces chiefs

Somalia's newly-elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo addresses lawmakers after winning the vote at the airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Feisal Omar - RTX306FS

Somalia's newly-elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo addresses lawmakers after winning the vote at the airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Feisal Omar - RTX306FS

Somalia's new president has declared the country a war zone and replaced its military and intelligence chiefs while instructing the army to prepare a new offensive against al-Shabab extremists.

The shakeup Thursday is an attempt to improve the worsening security situation as the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab steps up its deadly bombings in the capital since President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed was elected in February.

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The Somali-American president wore a military uniform as he declared a "new offensive against terrorist groups." He is giving extremists a 60-day amnesty to surrender.

The changes are seen as an attempt by Mohamed to consolidate power in this long-chaotic horn of Africa nation. He has replaced the country's police chief and Mogadishu's mayor.

Al-Shabab has denounced the president as an "apostate" and warned Somalis against supporting him.