Somalia: Gun Battle Erupts Near Presidential Palace, People Feared Dead
Story Code : 917149
According to local sources, the fighting took place at Daljirka Dahson Square, where Somalia's opposition presidential candidates planned to hold an anti-government rally later in the day.
"The government forces attacked the Maida Hotel, where I and the former president [Sharif Sheikh Ahmed] were staying,” former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said in a brief statement posted on Twitter after the firefight.
“It is unfortunate that the outgoing president is shedding the blood of citizens who are preparing for a peaceful demonstration to express their views,” he added.
The Maida Hotel is located a short distance away from the presidential palace.
The number of casualties is not yet known.
The gunfight comes a day after the Somali government announced that it had banned all public gatherings including demonstrations, but opposition leaders defied the order and prepared to hold a massive rally in the morning.