Somali Lawmakers Draw Blood in Latest Fistfight

Posted December 21st, 2011 at 12:15 pm (UTC-5)
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For the second time in a week, Somali lawmakers have traded punches on the floor of parliament amid a dispute over who holds the post of speaker.

Witnesses told VOA that lawmakers also wrestled and threw chairs at one another during Wednesday's brawl in Mogadishu. A photo taken at the scene showed a lawmaker bleeding from his neck after the fight.

Somali lawmakers first battled a week ago, after a group of them voted to remove Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan from power. The speaker's supporters said the vote was illegal, in part because it was held when he was out of the country.

The latest brawl happened when anti-Sharif Hassan lawmakers tried to set up a committee for electing a new speaker.

Somalia's transitional government has been plagued by years of infighting that have held back efforts to stabilize the war-ravaged country.

The country has endured 20 years of lawlessness and conflict since the fall of the last stable government.