|Somali MP assassinated in Mogadishu||
Gunmen shot dead Mustaf Haji Mohamed outside his home after evening prayers, the latest in a wave of attacks since Somalia's new assembly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud earlier this month, Reuters reported.
“How many times had we warned Somalis against joining the infidel government?” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for military operations for the militant group al Shabaab, told Reuters late on Saturday.
“Let it be a good lesson for the rest.”
Hassan Sheikh's election was hailed by his supporters and Western powers as a vote for change after more than two decades of violence. The militants were swift to brand the political newcomer a “traitor” who headed a government serving only Western interests.
Hassan Sheikh was the target of a failed suicide bombing just two days into his new job.
“We killed legislator Mustaf ... and we will kill all Somali MPs and officials one by one,” Musab said.
The UN secretary general's special envoy to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, called the shooting a cowardly act that was a “reminder of the challenges faced by the new institutions and administration.”
The gunmen shot and fatally wounded MP Mustaf in the Waberi district of the capital late on Saturday. He was rushed to a local hospital but died on the way.
According to witnesses, the parliamentarian was killed near a mosque in the Ali Boolaay neighborhood, where he had offered Maghrib (sunset) prayers.
Mustaf was the father-in-law of former President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
“They shot him several times and escaped,” said Mohamed Adan, who witnessed the incident.
“Mustaf Haji Mohamed was killed by elements that are known for cruelty,” Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari said in a statement on Saturday.
“We send our condolences to the relatives of the victim and to the Somali people whose cause he served.”
“Such acts will never deter us from fulfilling our responsibilities to serve the nation,” he added.
The new Somali parliament was sworn in on August 20.
The swearing-in ceremony, held on the tarmac of Mogadishu airport, was policed by African Union peacekeepers.
Somalia has not had an effective central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
However, MPs meeting in Mogadishu elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the new president of Somalia with a big majority on September 10.
The weak Western-backed transitional government in Mogadishu has been battling al-Shabab fighters for more than five years and is propped up by a 10,000-strong African Union force from Uganda, Burundi, and Djibouti.
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|Last Updated on 23 September 2012 17:02|