1/2) The @UN in #Somalia is deeply concerned by armed clashes in #Mogadishu overnight and on Friday morning, calls for calm and restraint by all parties involved, and urges that open lines of communication be maintained to help reduce tensions. pic.twitter.com/4zhcuDnqxO
— UNSOM (@UNSomalia) February 19, 2021
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Farhan Haq, Secretary-General António Guterres called on all parties to “exercise restraint and calm”.
Gunfire erupted between Somali Government troops and opposition supporters during a protest march against delayed elections that turned violent.
Demonstrators said that the Government forces had attacked them first and residents reported sporadic shooting and that rocket-propelled grenades had been fired, according to news sources.
The violence followed fighting overnight that had subsided by Friday afternoon.
While lawmakers were due to select a new President on 8 February, the process has been delayed.
“The Secretary-General urges the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States leaders to urgently come together and finalize political agreement on the way forward for national elections, in line with the 17 September electoral model”, the statement said.
The UN chief also called for the “full respect of the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression” and reiterated the UN’s full support to the people and Government of Somalia on their “path towards peace, stability and prosperity”.