Twin mortar attacks at a rally for Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre in Merca (Lower Shabelle region) killed three people and wounded several others on Saturday, September 14. The Prime Minister reportedly escaped the incident unharmed. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Al-Shabaab is suspected. A heightened security presence is to be expected in the area over the coming hours. Further details are still emerging; avoid the area.
Al-Shabaab continues to exercise frequent and effective control over large zones in the south and center of Somalia and attacks from the group are frequent across the country, including in Mogadishu. The group often targets government officials and military infrastructure in a bid to topple the West- and UN-backed government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam in Somalia.
Individuals in Merca are advised to avoid the affected area, monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
The security environment in Somalia remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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