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Somalia: Gunfire erupts in Mogadishu over president’s mandate

Clashes between Somali security and various opposition groups continued on Monday in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

Protests spread across the capital over the extension of Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo) mandate for another two years. The extension, which was approved by the Somali Federal Parliament’s House of Representatives in mid-April, between Faramago’s supporters and opposition who are calling for elections.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the former president, said that militias loyal to Farmajo attacked his home in northern Mogadishu, which the government denied.

Nicholas Berlanga, the European Union’s ambassador to Somalia, tweeted late Sunday: “Very worried about the events in Mogadishu.” The public interest necessitates extreme restraint and the maintenance of all-inclusive structures, as well as debate. Violence is not tolerated. Those who are responsible will face consequences…”

The African Union and the United States also denounced Faramajo’s mandate extension.

General Stephen Townsend, the commander of US Africa Command, said last week that the political situation in Somalia posed a greater threat than the terrorist group Al-Shabab.

“The additional constitutional extension of the president’s term of office – this is the greatest obstacle we face now, I guess,” Townsend said before a congressional hearing.

Somalia has been torn by conflict for decades but had been inching towards stability since 2012 when a new internationally-backed government was installed.

However, delayed elections following the end of Farmajo’s mandate in February have thrown the country into renewed chaos.

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