Somalia's president has asked cabinet ministers who were recently reshuffled by the prime minister to ignore the order in what appears to be a widening rift between the two top leaders of the country which is struggling to rebuild itself after decades of war.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud late Saturday told the Justice minister and the Animal Husbandry minister who had been ordered to swap places on Friday by the premier not to take up their new appointments.

Mohamud accused the premier Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed of not consulting with him before making the swap. Somalia's weak-U.N. backed government is struggling to rebuild the country while facing an insurgency from al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants. Somalia's military bolstered by African Union troops has made progress in recapturing areas controlled by al-Shabab militants.