Al-Shabab gunmen kill Somali MP Abdullahi Qayad Barre

Fighters from al-Shabab have warned of further attack against government officials

bbc

A Somali member of parliament has been shot dead in Mogadishu by Islamist militants from the al-Shabab movement, officials say.

Abdullahi Qayad Barre was killed near the presidential palace when gunmen opened fire on his car.

A spokesman for al-Shabab said the group had carried out the attack, and would target other MPs.

Barre’s death came amid tight security as lawmakers gathered to vote on whether to approve a new cabinet.

It is the latest in a string of assassinations of politicians in the war-torn country. At least five MPs were murdered last year, but Barre is the first to have been killed in 2015.

Al-Shabab described Barre as a “legitimate target”, calling MPs “despotic infidels” who would continue to be targeted.

Al-Shabab, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda, was pushed out of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, by African peacekeeping forces in 2011.

But the group has waged a series of gun and grenade attacks to try to overthrow the government and impose its strict version of Sharia law.

The latest violence is an apparent attempt to discredit claims by the authorities and African Union troops that they are winning against al-Shabab.

Somalia’s parliament is also the scene of political infighting, prompting repeated warnings by international donors that the power struggles are stalling progress.

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