Mogadishu - 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-Shabaab.
Mohamud's term expires in August. Opposition parties charge that his government is taking advantage of poor security to extend its mandate through postponement of elections.
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Al-Shabaab, which has ties with al-Qaeda, 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.