Gunfire erupts in Mogadishu as Somali government forces seal off streets

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PHOTO/REUTERS
PHOTO/REUTERS

A gunbattle erupted on Friday in central Mogadishu as Somali government forces sealed off streets to prevent a protest over delayed elections.

It was not immediately clear who was fighting.

Less than an hour before, prominent opposition figure Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame Wadajir posted a video of himself leading a small crowd of demonstrators into the street in defiance of a government ban on demonstrations.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is under pressure as the Feb. 8 election date came and went without resolution of issues related to how the vote is conducted in the Horn of Africa nation.

Information Minister Osman Dubbe says “armed militia” attacked a military post in Mogadishu overnight but was repulsed. But former Somali president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed asserted that the government had raided the hotel near the presidential palace where he and another former president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, were staying ahead of the protest.

The United Nations and others have urged Somali political leaders to solve their differences quickly.

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