At least three people were killed and five others hurt after a rally in Mogadishu supporting the outcome of a recently-concluded United Nations-organized consultative meeting on Somalia turned violent.
The rally reportedly started peacefully as hundreds of Mogadishans took to the streets to show support for the speaker of the parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam. However, the mood changed after demonstrators refused calls by Somali government forces to stop the rally.
“We turned deaf ear after Somali government forces ordered us to the demonstrations. Some of us began throwing stones to the forces and forces responded with live rounds of bullets” said Amina Jama, one of the demonstrators.
“When the soldiers started firing us, I fell on the ground and my body suffered some abrasion,” Jama added.
She indicated that she had seen at least three people dead, including a policeman, on the road.
On Wednesday, the regional administration of Benadir banned rallies on the capital’s streets and the holding of meetings in Mogadishu hotels without a government permit.
Mohammed Omar Habeb, a former Mogadishu mayor who organized the rally, had refused to follow the order.
In March, Habeb, who was previously a powerful warlord who controlled the Middle Shabelle region in southern Somalia, was freed after 40 days in jail on charges of killing demonstrators in a peaceful rally in Mogadishu. He was released after being acquitted of all charges.