Rally in Mogadishu as soldier shoots dead driver

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Dozens of Mogadishu residents rocked the streets of the Somali capital on Saturday morning, following the incident involving an intelligence officer and a rickshaw driver, who was shot dead under controversial circumstances, witnesses said.

The protests took place at Howl-Wadaag intersection in Mogadishu, with the residents expressing displeasure with the incident, which they termed an act of impunity. While marching in the streets, the protestors called for immediate arrest and prosecution of the officer involved in the deadly shooting.

According to reports, the victim was identified as Mohamed Hayle, and was operating a rickshaw taxi when he met the bullet from the rogue NISA officer. Until now, it is not yet clear why the police officer opened fire but cases of extrajudicial killings are synonymous in Somalia.

At the time of the fatal shooting, eyewitnesses said, Mohamed Hayle was in the company of his mother and sister, but they were not injured. This even angered protesters more as they urged security forces to take responsibility and arrest the culprit who is still Scott-free according to witnesses.

Multiple reports indicate that the deceased was a resident of the suburbs of Gubta in Daynille within the capital Mogadishu. Police officers have in the past been accused of perpetuating impunity by killing innocent civilians who are at times against the government policy or at times out of personal vendetta.

After the cold murder, several rickshaw taxi drivers assembled at the scene and demanded for immediate answers from authorities. They confronted the police who had arrived with a vehicle as they aimed to remove the body from the road for preservation in the nearby cold rooms within Mogadishu.

A frustrated young man said that life as a Bajaj driver has become unbearable, as they accused the government of targeting civilians who work hard to put food on their tables. They also blamed the police for thriving on bribery instead of executing their responsibilities without coercion.

“Every morning, I come to work to feed my children, but the soldiers block the road and take $15 a day, yet they continue to kill us. It has become unbearable.”

In 2019, a similar incident in Mogadishu left 4 rickshaw taxi drivers dead after they went to the streets to protest the shooting of one of their own by a rogue security officer. The federal government of Somalia has been on spot for massive abuse of human rights and extrajudicial killings which target innocent civilians.