Heavy gunfire has broken out in Somalia’s capital as opposition leaders defied a ban on public gatherings to protest about delayed elections.
At least one explosion was reported at the international airport and armoured personnel carriers blocked major streets.
The chaos occurred hours after Somalia’s government and opposition leaders said gunfire erupted overnight near the presidential palace.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is under pressure as the Feb. 8 election date came and went without resolution of issues related to how the vote is conducted in the country.
The gunfire began shortly after a former prime minister, Hassan Ali Khaire, began leading the protest march. In a statement, Khaire asserted that shells fired against the protesters landed inside the airport grounds.
As protesters scattered, some angry Somalis warned the president that retaliatory violence could occur.
The United Nations and others have urged Somali political leaders to solve their differences quickly.