Al-Shabaab, a Somali militant group, has claimed responsibility for a mortar attack on Somalia’s Parliament on Monday.
A single mortar shell fell at the entrance of the legislative building during the joint parliamentary session, according to officials and eyewitnesses, bursting and injuring numerous individuals, including security guards and civilian officials.
Members of Parliament and Senators were warned to remain inside the reinforced compound; none were hurt.
The United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) issued a statement denouncing the incident after it emerged.
“The UN stands firm with Somalis in their efforts to complete the electoral process and progress on national priorities,” it said.
Recall that the new members of the House of People (Lower House) and Senate were sworn in last Thursday, after a lengthy indirect electoral process that took over a year to complete.
Ali Mohamed Yusuf, the Upper House’s temporary speaker, and Abdisalan Haji Ahmed, the House of the People’s speaker, were elected by the new parliament.
Although only a few parliamentary seats remain to be filled, 297 members have taken the oath of office thus far, which is considered sufficient to move the election forward.
Following the election of the speakers and their deputies, the two chambers will have a joint session to elect a president at a date to be established by the bicameral parliament.
Meanwhile, U.N. Chief, Antonio Guterres has promised to continue supporting Somalia amid the country’s troubles ranging from grueling drought to chaos over delayed elections.
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