At least three protesters died in Mogadishu when hundreds of auto-rickshaw taxi drivers took to the streets Saturday after an officer shot and killed a driver.
The protest erupted shortly after police forces allegedly opened fire, killing one driver and a passenger at a checkpoint near the main Bakara market on the south side of the city. Mogadishu mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman called for calm after the latest in a series of similar incidents.
“I condemn the killing of the rickshaw driver and the passenger. The police are currently pursuing the perpetrators so I urge the rickshaw drivers to show restraint,” he said.
According to witnesses, at least three people had been shot dead at Saturday´s protest — but it was not clear if police had fired on them or else security guards from a local firm caught up in the unrest.
Muhidin Adan, a rickshaw driver who took part in the rally, said one officer fired two shots and killed the driver and a passenger after his three-wheeler did not heed a call to stop while looking to park. Some bystanders said the police officer involved in the shooting fled the scene.
Within minutes angry protesters took to the streets, burning tyres and throwing stones as they demanded justice for the victims.
“Two civilians were killed — one of them a rickshaw driver near Holwadag intersection — and demonstrations broke out a few minutes later,” Abdkarim Hassan, a grocer, said.
Some witnesses said security guards of a local telecoms company opened fire to stop protesters who tried to storm the premises.
“This is happening every day and security forces go unpunished… We will continue protesting until justice is served for the victims,” Rickshaw driver Mohamed Weli said.