Citing security challenges, Somalia's government says elections may not take place next year

Somalia's president is ruling out the possibility of holding elections that are due next year, citing security challenges stemming from an Islamic insurgency.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said in a statement that national elections are impossible amid rampant violence orchestrated by the Somali Islamic extremist group al-Shabab.

Mohamud's term expires in August. Opposition parties charge that that his government is taking advantage of poor security to extend its mandate through postponement of elections.

Al-Shabab, which has ties with al-Qaida, has stepped up attacks in recent months, targeting African Union forces, government officials and foreigners.

On Sunday, at least 15 people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden truck at the upscale Jazeera Hotel in the capital, Mogadishu.