By Abdi Sheikh
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalia's president has instructed his cabinet to ignore a cabinet reshuffle by the prime minister, highlighting a possible rift at a time when Somalia is looking to build confidence in its government and reassure donors.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said in a statement on Saturday that the prime minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, had not consulted him on the changes and declared them null and void.
"Ministers should stay in their previous offices and the security forces should redouble their work and keep on tightening security," the statement said.
As part of the reshuffle, justice minister Farah Abdiqadir, a close ally of Mohamud, had been reassigned as minister for livestock.
Somalia is attempting to rebuild itself after two decades of civil war and lawlessness triggered by the overthrow of president Siad Barre in 1991. The fragile government is being backed by international aid aimed at preventing it from becoming a haven for al Qaeda-style militants in east Africa.
Ahmed, who previously worked at the Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia, was named prime minister last December. His predecessor was forced out by lawmakers in a vote of no confidence after falling out with Mohamud over the composition of a new cabinet.
(Writing by Edith Honan; Editing by Stephen Powell)