Mogadishu: Firefight and Explosions Erupt at Opposition Demonstration

Gunfire breaks out in Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu amidst protests by political opposition and government leaders.

Several actively-running presidential candidates were in attendance at the demonstration, as well as former Prime Minister Hassan Kheire.

Somali security forces exchanged fire with armed security personnel who were escorting opposition leaders along a main airport road earlier this morning. 

Witnesses report a “heavy exchange of gunfire” with further reports from protest leaders in Mogadishu saying that “some have died”. Military and police forces have isolated the area. 

The protests were a result of delays in an upcoming political election to replace President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, whose term expired on February 8th. Opposition leaders and the general public have called for  the President to step down while elections are being conducted.

Somalia’s Prime Minister has commented on the skirmish, calling it “unacceptable” while announcing a no tolerance policy on armed protests. 

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