Somalia beefs up security ahead of presidential vote

Mogadishu and surrounding areas are on lockdown after increase in al-Shabab attacks in lead-up to election.

Somalia’s capital is on lockdown a day before the parliament meets to elect a new president, with ongoing security concerns and warnings of famine expected to top the agenda for the incoming administration.

Roads in Mogadishu were closed, businesses asked to shut, and schools and universities gave students a two-day break.

In the run-up to the election, al-Shabab fighters have stepped up their attacks against government installations and hotels in the capital.

Bishar Abshir, Mogadishu police chief, told Al Jazeera that security forces were working to ensure that the election is concluded peacefully.

“We appeal to the public to be patient and cooperate with us as we deter the enemies of peace from carrying out attacks,” he told Al Jazeera.

Al-Shabab, which aims to topple the country’s UN-backed government, has carried out hundreds of attacks in Somalia.

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