Tuesday April 19, 2022
At least nine people were injured after several rounds of
mortar shells hit the parliament building where the newly elected lawmakers
were holding a joint session on Monday, police and witnesses said.
A police officer at the scene said two guards attached to an
opposition leader were among those injured at Villa Hargeisa, which is located
within the presidential palace in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
"Several mortar shells landed in the vicinity of the
parliamentary building, or Villa Hargeisa, located within Villa Somalia, where
the newly elected members of parliament were holding a joint session on the
upcoming election of speakers and their deputies of the two houses," a
police officer who requested anonymity said on the phone.
He said the shelling happened a few minutes after the
lawmakers approved measures to hold elections for the speakers of the House of
the People and the Senate on April 26 and 27.
Al-Shabab militant group, which has intensified attacks to
disrupt the elections, claimed responsibility for the latest attack, saying it
was targeting the lawmakers.
Witnesses said the shells struck just as the lawmakers ended
their joint session and were getting out of the building.
"It seems the attackers were targeting the members of
parliament who were leaving Parliament since the mortar shells struck at the
entrance of parliament," Hussein Abdi, a witness, said.
Prime Minister Mohamed Roble has condemned the attack as a
"Today's attempt was a cowardly act to frighten the
Parliament which is within its constitutional obligation to ensure that the
elections are over soon," Roble said in a statement.
The prime minister praised the lawmakers' efforts to race
against time to complete the electoral process that will soon culminate in the
election of the president.
Shabab militants have recently staged a series of attacks
against delegates to disrupt the electoral process.