Somalia is holding its presidential elections today February 8, after several postponements since last year. In all there are 23 candidates in the race for the top political executive position.
On Tuesday night, with hours to the vote, suspected mortar attacks were reported by local journalists. According to them, the attacks were specifically targeted at the venue of the event, the Mogadishu airport. No group has claimed the attack yet.
The capital has been under a partial curfew ahead of the vote. The East African country has not had an effective central government since 1991 when the regime of Siad Barre ended. Barre ruled between 1969 till 1991.
BREAKING: Reports of suspected mortar attacks targeting Mogadishu airport just hours before the presidential election.#Somalia— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) February 7, 2017
Due to security concerns the process was scheduled to take place in a secured location at the Mogadishu international airport. Al Shabaab insurgents have long threatened to scuttle the process which they are against – they do not believe in the democratic process.
The insurgents continue to battle with African Union Mission (AMISOM) forces in the country. Recent troop withdrawals by Ethiopia and Burundi further gave the insurgents control of some areas.
Incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is standing for another term. The process will involve the casting of votes by the two houses of parliament. The lower house comprising 275 members and the upper house with 54 members.