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Somali Capital Gunfire Amid Election Protests

The opposition leaders didn't mention any casualties at their press conference.
Somalia Protesters on the Run During Gunfire

Gunfire broke out on Friday in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, during an opposition protest. As political tensions deepen, the city is currently under strong security surveillance.

Before February 8, the end of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's term of office, Somalia was supposed to hold elections, but because of political dissent, the country refused to go to the polls.

On Friday morning, when gunshots erupted, a small group of protesters began marching on the road to the airport.

"Today, as the presidential candidates were protesting and the world watching, they came under attack and those gunshots hit some Somali citizens who were protesting peacefully", Hassan Ali Khaire, former Somali Prime Minister said.

Since February 8, a group of opposition candidates has judged the president's illegitimacy and called for a rally to demand his resignation.

"You watched live that people and politicians protesting peacefully were attacked by militia men of a dictator (outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed) whose term has ended", Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, a presidential candidate said.

As at the time of the filing of this article, the origin of the gunfire is still unknown, but an eyewitness, Yusuf Mohamed, told AFP that "heavy fire" had occurred between the security forces and the armed men defending the march.

In the fragile Horn of Africa country, whose government has vowed to reform the complex electoral system and give every citizen the opportunity to vote for the first time since 1969, the United Nations has called for calm and restraint.

Calm had returned to the Somali capital by early afternoon, which had been cordoned off by security forces. In the aftermath of the shooting, opposition leaders held a press conference and characterized the incident as an "assassination attempt ".

The opposition leaders didn't mention any casualties at their press conference.

The security forces were behind the shooting, according to another witness. Security forces have not, as at this time, responded to the allegations.

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