Police in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday dispersed protesters showing support for the country’s prime minister, who remains defiant as a political impasse continues in the Horn of Africa country.
Demonstrators at the protest, said to have been organized by opposition presidential hopefuls, were shouting “Coup, no; election, yes” referring to the claim that Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, the current president, is trying to mount a coup against Mohamed Hussein Roble, the prime minister.
Internal Security Minister Abdullahi Mohamed Nor ordered a probe into the police actions against “peaceful protesters.”
“I have received complaints that security forces, particularly the police, harmed officials and civilians attending a peaceful rally,” Nor said in a statement posted on Facebook.
He said an investigation will be launched and assured the public that it is never “acceptable for security officials to commit such acts.”
“I also call on the public to remain calm and maintain stability in the capital, and no violence is acceptable,” he added.
A police officer in Mogadishu who spoke to Anadolu Agency on the phone on condition of anonymity denied any wrongdoing against the protesters.
“We were following strict orders from our superiors which was not to fire a single bullet against the protesters, but now I’m hearing some rumors that the police acted forcefully against protesters. I can tell you that all opposition claims are rubbish,” he said.
Mohamed earlier this week issued a decree suspending Roble over alleged corruption and misuse of public land, but Roble refused, calling the decree a “coup attempt.”
Roble claimed he is the only one in the country who is legally responsible for all government institutions and called on military commanders to obey him as the political power struggle in Somalia gives no impression of ending soon.