Somali MP shot dead in Mogadishu

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Gunmen have shot dead a member of Somalia's new parliament in an attack in the capital Mogadishu.

Mustafa Haji Maalim was gunned down after leaving a mosque in the southern Waberi district following evening prayers, witnesses said.

The speaker of parliament, Mohamed Osman Jawari, said he was killed by "elements that are known for cruelty".

This appears to be a reference to the Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

It was pushed out of Mogadishu last year, but has frequently staged attacks in the city since then and still controls large swathes of southern and central Somalia.

On Thursday, a double suicide attack in Mogadishu targeting a restaurant recently opened by Somalis from the diaspora killed 18 people.

Battle for control

The assassinated lawmaker was the father-in-law of former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, and is the first parliamentarian to be targeted since a new 275-member assembly was selected in August.

No-one has so far claimed the attack, but al-Shebab has vowed to kill Somali government officials.

Mr Mahiga called for an independent investigation, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

"The MPs were selected in a transparent, consultative and representative manner and were called upon to serve at a critical moment in the history of the country," he said.

"This loss has come very early in the life of the new parliament whose work is central to the new path that Somalia has chosen. It is a reminder of the challenges faced by the new institutions and administration."

Since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has seen clan-based warlords, Islamist militants and its neighbours all battling for control.

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