1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Somalia: Al-Shabab claims mortar attack at parliament

April 18, 2022

A mortar attack interrupted a parliamentary session in Somalia as the newly elected lawmakers were meeting in the heavily fortified compound. Somalia is trying to complete the process of choosing a new president.

Newly elected deputies attend oath-taking ceremony after the parliamentary elections in Mogadishu, Somalia on April 14
Somalia's newly elected lawmakers were only sworn in on ThursdayImage: Abukar Mohamed Muhudin/Anadolu Agency/picture alliance

Several people were left injured after a mortar attack struck the area around Somalia's parliamentary building on Monday just as newly elected lawmakers convened for only the second time.

Officials and witnesses reported that shells landed inside the heavily fortified compound, but that no lawmakers were hurt. The explosions were also heard over the live stream of Monday's lower house parliamentary session.

Al-Shabab, an Islamist militant group with connections to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has been waging an insurgency against the government in Mogadishu for over a decade.

UN condemns attack

"We have no details yet but these explosions were caused by mortar fire; the legislators were safe and unharmed inside the building when the incident occurred," a security officer who asked not to be named told the AFP news agency. 

"I was in the area when the mortar shells landed outside the building where the parliamentarians were meeting; several people were wounded lightly in one of the blasts," another witness said.

The UN's mission to Somalia, UNSOM, tweeted its condemnation of Monday's mortar attack, saying it "wishes a speedy recovery for the injured, and stands firm with Somalis in their efforts to complete the electoral process and progress on national priorities."

Somalia's complex electoral system

The newly elected members of the Senate and the House of the People were sworn in on Thursday following elections that had been postponed for over a year.

Only 297 out of 329 seats were filled, but lawmakers pledged to move ahead with the electoral process that has been marred by a power struggle between the sitting president and prime minister.

The two houses of parliament will vote on their speakers later in the month, a necessary step before proceeding to the election of the country's new president.

Somalian elections follow a complex indirect mandate system where state legislatures and clan delegates choose lawmakers, who then choose the president.

Al-Shabab claimed three attacks carried out last month that killed over 50 people, including Somali lawmaker and outspoken government critic Amina Mohamed Abdi. They also claimed an attack last week onMogadishu's airport during a ceremony in which the new lawmakers officially took their seats in parliament. Nobody was injured, according to Europa Press.  

ab/dj (AFP, dpa)