Militant group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for Monday’s mortar attack on Somalia’s Parliament.
According to officials and eyewitnesses, a single mortar shell landed at the entrance of parliamentary building while the joint parliamentary session was in progress, exploding and injuring several people including security guards and civilian officials.
MPs and Senators were advised to remain inside the fortified compound; none of them was injured.
Following reports of the attack, the United Nations Mission (UNSOM) in Somalia issued a statement condemning the attack.
“The UN stands firm with Somalis in their efforts to complete the electoral process and progress on national priorities,” it said.
Last Thursday, the new members of the House of the People (Lower House) and the Senate were sworn in following a complex indirect electoral process that took over a year to be implemented.
Few parliamentary seats remain to be filled, but so far 297 lawmakers have taken the oath of office, considered sufficient to move the election process forward.
When the speakers and their deputies are elected, the two chambers will culminate the election season by holding a joint session to election a federal president at a date to be determined by the bicameral parliament.
Incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and a horde of challengers, including former presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, and ex-Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, are expected to vie for Somalia’s top post.