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.
PHOTOS: Section of the #Mogadishu Airport hosting Western Union, Somtel mobile, restaurants and parking lot were caught with fire. It was hit by shelling earlier. @amisomsomalia soldiers seen standing near the debris. pic.twitter.com/FrknzPGQKP
— Abdalle Ahmed Mumin (@Cabdalleaxmed) February 19, 2021
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.
Security forces disperse protesters including former prime minister Hassan Ali Khaire who were demonstrating along airport road as per this footage. pic.twitter.com/rtY3T7kB76
— Abdulaziz Billow Ali (@AbdulBillowAli) February 19, 2021
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.