Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has given a rousing speech in Minnesota, home to the largest Somali population in the US. He spoke of a new era to the 4,000-strong audience, and urged Somalis to help rebuild their war-torn homeland.
Speaking mostly in Somali to the cheering, flag-waving crowd at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told them that he would focus on security, the economy and the judicial system in his bid to rebuild Somalia and urged his audience to help, either by returning to Somalia or from their homes in the US. It was “the beginning of a new foundation”, he said in English.
He was in Washington on Thursday to hear the US officially recognise Somalia after more than 20 years. The move could pave the way for US and international economic aid for the Horn of Africa nation. However, not everyone was celebrating. Some 50 people gathered outside the convention centre to protest about his visit. “I celebrated [his election], but his policies are not going the way they were supposed to,” protest organiser Roda Rabi told Minneapolis’ Star Tribute. “I wanted a fair and balanced president for all the Somali people. He has set off on the wrong foot.”