- Associated Press - Thursday, October 12, 2017

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - Somali officials say the country’s defense minister and army chief have resigned as the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group steps up attacks on army bases across south and central Somalia.

An official in the prime minister’s office says Defense Minister Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed has resigned, citing lack of consultations on issues related to his ministry. The official says army chief Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Jimale has also submitted his resignation to the president.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

There have been reports of a rivalry between the two outgoing military leaders.

Somalia in recent weeks has seen an increase in attacks by al-Shabab extremists, who have overrun several army positions.

Al-Shabab is the focus of stepped-up U.S. military efforts, including drone strikes.

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