(Bloomberg) --

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed suspended key powers belonging to the nation’s prime minister, widening a rift between the two leaders weeks before planned elections.

Mohamed barred Prime Minister Hussein Roble from hiring or firing government officials during the election period, according to a statement from the president’s office on Thursday. The president accused Roble of violating Somalia’s constitution.

Tensions have mounted between the president, who is widely known as Farmajo, and Roble over the disappearance of Ikran Tahlil, an intelligence agent, who Somalia’s spy agency said was killed by militant group al-Shabaab. The insurgents denied any involvement in her death.

Following the intelligence agency’s report of Tahlil’s death, the president opposed a decision by the premier to fire the nation’s spy chief Fahad Yasin, saying it was unconstitutional. Yasin backed Farmajo as he rose to power in 2017 and previously served as the president’s top intelligence adviser.

READ: Spy’s Death, Control Over IMF Funds Roil Election-Bound Somalia

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