Somali lawmaker, driver gunned down
Posted on Jul 23 2014 | IANS
Mogadishu, July 23 : Somali lawmaker Saado Ali Warsame and her driver were killed by suspected Islamist gunmen Wednesday in a drive-by shooting in the capital Mogadishu, police and witnesses said.
The lawmaker, who is also a prominent singer, was shot along with her driver at the main junction in Mogadishu by gunmen who shot at her vehicle while speeding past, Xinhua reported.
"The member of parliament, Saado Ali Warsame, and her driver were killed in the shooting by anti-peace elements and they are now being pursued by our security forces," police officer Mohamed Ahmed told Xinhua.
It is the second such killing of a lawmaker in three weeks and the fourth since the beginning of the year. Islamist Al Shabaab militants have claimed responsibility for the previous targeting of lawmakers.
Witnesses said the attackers escaped after spraying bullets on the lawmaker and her driver who were killed instantly.
"The firing was intense and the attackers shot from their vehicle after they came close to the other car. After a few seconds of shooting, the attackers sped fast and left the scene," Maryan, a shopkeeper who witnessed the shooting, told Xinhua.
The security situation has been deteriorating in Mogadishu following the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when Islamist militants often scale up attacks on government targets as well as African Union peacekeeping troops in Somalia.
The Somali government has pledged to strengthen general security in the capital and for lawmakers in particular following an upsurge in targeted attacks and suicide bombings of government installations and officials.
The radical Islamist group attacked the parliament building and presidential palace in Mogadishu this month for the second time in three months.