Shots fired in Mogadishu to clear protest against delay of elections

Mogadishu, Feb 19 (efe-epa).- Shots were fired by security forces in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday to disperse pro-opposition demonstrators protesting against delayed elections in the country.

The shots were fired into the air as protesters, including presidential candidate Hassan Ali Khaire, a former Somali prime minister, marched with banners and national flags along the road leading to Mogadishu airport on Friday morning.

Near the airport, a restaurant was hit by a grenade. The origin of the projectile is unknown.

“I and other presidential candidates, members of parliament, other officials and many civilians survived an assassination attempt,” Khaire said on his Facebook page.

The incident occurred a day after opposition leaders called for a large demonstration to demand elections by not recognizing the authority of Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo, whose mandate expired on February 8.

The protesters defied a ban on public meetings announced by authorities, who have cut off the city’s most important streets.

On Thursday night, government forces clashed with opposition militias in the capital’s Daljirka Dahsoon area, where the monument to the unknown soldier is erected, local media reported.

Former presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed claimed that the army attacked their hotel at night.

“We have been unjustly attacked by the government by raiding the Maida Hotel where I and former President Hassan Mohamud and other members of the Presidential Candidates Union are staying,” Ahmed, whose hotel is near the presidential palace, said on his Twitter account in the early hours of Thursday night.

The UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) said Friday it was “deeply concerned” about the armed clashes in Mogadishu.

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