Somali president's backers in gun clash with opponents, residents say

Somalia’s newly-elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo addresses lawmakers after winning the vote at the airport in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, on February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Feisal Omar/File Photo

MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Supporters of Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and those opposed to the extension of his four-year term clashed on Sunday on the streets of the capital, residents said.

The president signed a law in mid-April extending his mandate for two years, stoking opposition inside Somalia and putting him on a collision course with Western and other donors opposed to the move. [nL1N2M70EX

Somalia, which plunged into war and chaos in 1991, has been struggling to re-establish the authority of central government and rebuild the nation, with international help. The failure to hold elections that were due in February sparked a new crisis.

“There is gunfire between pro-opposition military and government forces at Fagah Junction,” Halima Osman, a resident of Fagah in Mogadishu, said after Reuters witnesses heard gunshots erupt in capital.

A Reuters witness saw four military vehicles positioned in one place in the Fagah area.

Somalia’s lower house of parliament passed legislation to extend Mohamed’s tenure by up to two years, although the decision was rejected by the upper chamber.

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