Somali capital gunfire amid election protests
- 19 February 2021
Heavy gunfire has broken out in Somalia's capital as opposition leaders defied a ban on public gatherings to protest about delayed elections, APA reports citing BBC.
The president's term expired last week, without the selection of a successor, throwing Somalia into a crisis.
Overnight, the government said militiamen attacked army positions in Mogadishu, close to the presidential palace.
Most roads in the city have been closed and special forces deployed.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as "Farmajo", has been due to hold a meeting with Somalia's five regional presidents as part of efforts to end the deadlock.
But it has been repeatedly delayed this week and so far only one of the regional leaders has arrived in the city, reports the BBC's Bella Sheegow from Mogadishu.
International flights to Mogadishu's main airport have been suspended following heavy gunfire and shelling by the perimeter wall that damaged nearby shops and restaurants, our reporter says.
The opposition march was on the main airport road when the gunfire broke out.
Reports say security forces shot in the air to disperse the protest.
Footage on social media showed people running for cover as the shooting started.