London teacher quits to become Deputy Prime Minister


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The Independent Online

Six months ago Mohamed Ibrahim was a teacher in north London. Then an unusual job offer came calling.

The government of Somalia asked the quietly spoken 64-year-old to be the war-torn nation's new Deputy Prime Minister.

The job offer, as he explained in a resignation email to his colleagues at Newman Catholic College, was one he could hardly refuse. "I was unexpectedly called to my country during the summer holidays, at a time when the country is facing a humanitarian crisis such as drought and famine," he wrote. "I will always have Newman Catholic College in my heart and won't forget the wonderful colleagues."

The head teacher, Richard Kolka, remembered the moment the email flashed up on his screen. "I was awestruck," he said. "What an honour, but also what a responsibility. I had absolutely no idea he was involved in the political life of his country."

Mr Ibrahim (pictured) is one of a number of western-educated Somalis who are heeding their government's calls to return to their homeland. The mayor of Mogadishu, 55-year-old Mohamoud Ahmed Nur, used to be an employment adviser at Islington Council before returning three years ago.

The current cabinet, headed by the American-trained economist Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, was brought in earlier this summer under a UN deal to end months of internecine squabbling.