Clashes in Somali Capital Over Election Fiasco

Intermittent gunfire rocked the Somali capital Mogadishu on April 25, 2021 as rival forces clashed following the breakdown of election talks. Witnesses and residents said the fighting took place between national government forces of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, and members of the Somali military who are aligning themselves with opposition leaders. Former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud claimed he had been "attacked by Farmaajo's army", just hours after Somali media outlets reported that "mutineers" in the Somali National Army had taken control of various roads in the capital, as they battled government forces and intelligence agents. Opposition groups say President Farmaajo's term ended on February 8, 2021. However, on April 13, parliament's lower house extended their term and that of President Farmaajo by "not more than two years" according to a motion passed then. But this move has been opposed by local rivals who argue it is an illegal extension. The African Union, the UN, European Union and other donors have since disagreed too, arguing the leaders should negotiate timelines for an indirect election based on an agreement reached in September 2020.

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