Somalia’s Opposition Forces Closing in on Presidential Palace

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Troops opposed to Somali president’s decision to extend his term by two years are closing in on the presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu after seizing control of nearby neighborhoods during clashes on Sunday night.

Mutinous troops, including US-trained special forces took over control of Sayidka junction and several key neighborhoods along the Makka Al-Mukarama road advancing on the presidential compound, which is less than 1 km away.

Gunfire exchanged by government troops and supporters of the opposition impacted the president’s palace overnight, with reports of mortar shells raining down on the heavily fortified compound.

Photos circulated on social media show pro-opposition forces in control of the areas where the gun battle occurred on Sunday.

Officials who have spoken to Somaliguardian on the condition of anonymity, say prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble urged opposition leaders to observe a ceasefire to halt forces advancing on Villa Somalia, as the presidential compound is known.

There have been proposals of deploying AMISOM forces to areas where the clashes took place and the issue has been raised on Monday during a virtual meeting between opposition leaders and foreign diplomats in Mogadishu.

Elsewhere in the capital pro-opposition forces received fresh reinforcements from the Middle Shabelle region and are advancing towards neighborhoods near the presidential palace.

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