Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said on Wednesday he would drop an attempt to extend his term by two years, bowing to domestic and international pressure after clashes in the capital Mogadishu split security forces along ethnic lines.

Hours earlier, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble denounced his proposed term extension and called for preparations for a new presidential election.

Commanders in both the police and military had defected to the opposition, and both sides had fortified positions in central Mogadishu, raising fears of clashes in the heart of the city, and a security vacuum in the surrounding areas that could be exploited by Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab insurgents.

The President said he commended the efforts of the Prime Minister and other political leaders and welcomed the statements they issued on elections.