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Somali leaders pass constitution as bombers attack

Somalia's President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed walks through Afgoye town during a visit to Elasha Biyaha on July 30, 2012. The head of Somalia's corruption-riddled government said on July 23 he expects to be re-selected as president of the war-torn Horn of Africa nation when his current mandate expires next month. "I am a strong candidate and I am very confident that I will win," President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told reporters last week. AFP PHOTO / Mohamed Abdiwahab

MOGADISHU: A gathering of leaders in Somalia has approved a new constitution for the struggling country.

The Wednesday vote - 621 for, 13 against with 11 abstentions - came shortly after two suicide bombers tried to attack the Mogadishu meeting. A police officer said security forces shot the two bombers at the gate to the meeting area. The two bombers were killed and one Somali soldier was wounded, said Abdi Yassin, a police officer.

The constitution affords more individual rights to Somalis.

The U.N. mandate for Somalia's current government expires on Aug. 20, and Somali leaders have been tasked with voting on the constitution, voting in a new 275-member parliament, and electing a president before then.

 

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