The interior minister was killed by a suicide bombing at his house, and at least five other people were killed in clashes in the city, witnesses and officials said.
Thousands of people marched through the streets demanding the reinstatement of the prime minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who was pushed out of office as part of a deal among squabbling political factions to extend the transitional government for a year. The protesters, including many government soldiers, said Mr. Mohamed was the chaotic country’s only honest leader in recent years.
Two protesters and a policeman were killed in the Dharkanley neighborhood when another police officer fired at the demonstrators, said Abdisalam Nor, a witness.
Another protester was killed and two more were wounded when two security guards fired on demonstrators who were trying to force their way into the Medina Hotel in the Hamarjajab District, witnesses said. Somali soldiers arrested the guards, but the protesters continued to attack the Medina and other hotels where lawmakers were staying. The Medina was set on fire.
Speaking on Radio Mogadishu, the state-run station, Mr. Mohamed praised the army and urged it to act with restraint, He appealed to protesters for calm and asked them to go home.
“I have seen your expressions and heard your calls,” he said. “You are part of the decision making — what you want must be heard.”
The death of Abdishashakur Sheik Hassan, the country’s minister of the interior and national security, in the bombing at his home was confirmed late Friday by the minister of information, Abdulkareem Jama. Local radio reports, citing government officials, said that a woman, thought to be a relative of Mr. Hassan’s, gained access to his house wearing an explosive device and detonated it in his room. Gravely wounded in the legs and lower body, the minister was taken to Benadir Hospital, where he died, officials said.
The commander of the African Union’s peacekeeping force in the country, Maj. Gen. Nathan Mugisha, called Mr. Hassan’s death “a sad and senseless loss.”
“We worked together closely over the past months since his appointment, and he was a driving force in much of the good reform and progress that we have seen recently,” the general said in a statement.
The president of the transitional government, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, said the bombing would be investigated. It was the second suicide attack in Mogadishu in two days: bombers struck the port on Thursday, killing one person and wounding four others. The Shabab, one of the most feared of the country’s insurgent groups, said it was responsible for that attack.
Protests against the prime minister’s resignation also took place in Galcaiyo, northeast of the capital, and in Belet Hawo, in the southwest near the border with Kenya.
Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991, when a military dictatorship was topped by clan militias that later turned on one another. President Ahmed’s transitional government has no control over much of the country, or even parts of the capital NYT
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