Mortar attacks in Mogadishu as Somalia prepares for presidential election

Al-Shabab
Al-Shabab

At least five civilians were reported wounded on Tuesday following al-Shabaab attacks in Mogadishu a day before a planned presidential election, police and said.

Explosions could be heard even as a police officer, Mohamed Dahir, explained they were mortars launched by the militant group. Al-Shabaab wants to disrupt the election, said the officer.

At least five mortar shells fell. Five people were reported injured when two landed near the airport, police said.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility using its radio station, Andalus. Militants also fired several mortars at an African Union military base on the outskirts of the capital, according to Somali police. It was unknown if those had resulted in casualties.

Security has been beefed up in the capital precisely because of fears al-Shabaab might try to disrupt the election.

Authorities in Mogadishu have vowed to ensure a safe vote on Wednesday.

Local flights have been cancelled until Thursday. Additionally, flights from Kenya – responsible for bringing in supplies of the popular stimulant khat – have been cancelled temporarily.

There are also temporary controls on movement inside the country, with all bus service cut for the time being. Residents have been encouraged to walk instead.

Hundreds of Somali forces and AU troops have been placed around the capital to handle security, said Somali security official Mohamed Hassan. (dpa/NAN)

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