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Somali lawmaker 'shot several times'

22 April 2014, 19:54

Mogadishu - Insurgents assassinated a Somali lawmaker on Tuesday, police and witnesses said, the second such killing in 24 hours and the latest in a series of attacks in the war-ravaged capital.

Abdiaziz Isak was shot "several times and he died instantly," police officer Mohamed Dalane said, close to where the lawmaker was killed in the capital's Madina district.

On Monday, an MP was killed and another wounded in a car bombing claimed by the al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab, which threatened to assassinate all lawmakers in the internationally-backed government.

"All of them are targets of the mujahedeen fighters and they will be killed, one by one," Shabaab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP.

The gunmen escaped after the killing on Tuesday, witnesses and police said.

"I saw two young men running after several gunshots, one of them was carrying a pistol, the other one followed him," said witness Nure Sheikh Ali.

The attacks come as the government holds the third and final day of a security conference hoping to tackle continued attacks by the Shabaab.

Key areas

The Shabaab have been driven out of fixed positions in Somalia's major towns by a UN-mandated African Union force, but still regularly launch attacks that include bombings and guerrilla-style raids.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for Tuesday's assassination, but the Shabaab said they carried out Monday's attack, which killed MP Isak Mohamed.

"The mujahedeen fighters targeted and killed one of those who claimed to be 'legislators' and injured another one," Abu Musab said. "Those apostates were helping the infidels."

Recent Shabaab attacks have targeted key areas of government or the security forces, in an apparent bid to discredit claims by the authorities that they are winning the war against the Islamist fighters.

In February, Shabaab militants carried out a major attack against the heavily fortified presidential palace, killing officials and guards in heavy gun battles.

AU troops fighting alongside Somali government forces launched last month a fresh offensive against Shabaab bases, seizing a series of towns, but with the insurgents largely fleeing in advance and escaping unscathed to strike back in guerrilla attacks.



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