Mortar attack wounds several people in central Somalia

Several people including a police officer were wounded late Monday when a mortar attack targeted the city of Dhusamareb in central Somalia, local media reported.

Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmudug State, is hosting a major conference on the country's next elections. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, senior government officials and regional leaders arrived in the city earlier in the day.

"Fear in Galmudug capital, Dhusamareb as mortar shells rain down on the city tonight shortly after PM Roble arrived. The city is set to host high-level talks between the country's political elites to discuss a pre-poll stalemate," said Radio Garowe.

Residents who spoke to Anadolu Agency by phone said they heard at least 10 explosions from the attack.

No group has yet claimed responsibility, but it comes a day after an attack by the al-Shabaab terrorist group in the Somali capital Mogadishu which killed at least 10 people, including retired army general and former defence minister Mohamed Nuur Galal.

Earlier this week following pressure from the international community, President Abdullahi called on regional leaders to attend a three-day consultative summit in the city to attempt to resolve outstanding issues over the holding of timely and credible elections in the country.

The president’s mandate will expire on Feb. 8, and the country has already missed the deadline for parliamentary elections twice./aa