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Gunfire erupts in Mogadishu as Somali government forces seal off streets
Friday, 19 February 2021
Gunfire, rocket fire and mortar blasts have been reported in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, where opposition parties launched a protest rally despite a coronavirus lockdown enforced by the government.
One witness reported a heavy exchange of gunfire between security forces and armed guards protecting opposition supporters who began their march along Mogadishu’s main airport road on Friday.
There can be casualties but we are taking cover now I don’t know exactly what happened,” Yusuf Mohamed told AFP.
“We were peacefully walking along the airport road together with former prime minister Hassan Ali Kheire, when the security forces opened fire on us, creating mayhem,” said another witness, Fadumo Moalim.
“Many forces heavily attacked us, I am now on my chest in an alley. This is a massacre,” protester Farah Omar told Reuters by phone.
Turkish-trained special forces of the Somali National Army (SNA), known as Gorgor, were said to be among the government military forces attacking the protesters.
Earlier on Friday, a hotel where two major opposition candidates were staying had come under heavy gunfire.
Former president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said the attack was ordered by outgoing president Mohamed Farmajo. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is known as Farmaajo.
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