MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – Shots were fired in the Somali capital on Sunday by loyalist government soldiers, among others “angry with the country’s leader” as tensions escalated over the extension of President Mohammed Abdullah’s rule.
Shots fired in much of the city underscored earlier warnings that a halt to the election could increase instability in the Horn of Africa. Hundreds of rebel soldiers in uniform, still in uniform, took up key positions in northern Mogadishu when some residents hid.
Somali Homeland Security Minister Hassan Hundubey Jim Imale expressed his condolences to all the victims, but did not say how many people were killed or injured. He accused “some people who are not interested in the security of their people” of launching an attack in Mogadishu and said that the security forces had pushed them back.
The president is facing growing opposition abroad in Somalia after the lower house of parliament approved a two-year extension of his federal government’s mandate, which he allowed to do so, amid widespread criticism from the international community. , The African Union recently condemned the actions.
Somalia’s elections, scheduled for early February, have been postponed amid controversy between the federal government and the state of Puntland’s Ubbaland, along with the opposition.
“Tonight’s unacceptable violence is being instigated by forces seeking to send Somalia back to its dark past,” the federal government said in a statement. “Militia և Foreign interventions have united to intimidate the Somali people.”
The soldiers were believed to have entered the city from military bases outside Mogadishu. Most of them belong to the clan of former presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohammad և Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. Both have vowed to oust the president if he does not return to talks on postponing the election or resign.
Mohamud tweeted that forces loyal to the president had attacked his home, adding: “I have warned, and I repeat, how dangerous it is to politicize security. “(Mohammed) will take responsibility for what happens as a result.”
Somalia’s interior minister has denied the allegations.
“We can not accept another Siad Barre,” said one of the brutal soldiers, referring to the dictator whose overthrow in 1991. Led to three decades of conflict, first by the warlords and then by the extremist group al-Shabab.
Hundreds of protesters rallied on Sunday, chanting “We do not want a dictatorship.” and burn the president’s photo.