Somali lawmaker gunned down in Mogadishu – By Mustafa Haji Abdinur(AFP)

June 19th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Gunmen on Friday shot dead a lawmaker in Mogadishu, the third high-profile government official to have been killed in as many days, as Somalia descended further into chaos. (more…)

Gunmen on Friday shot dead a lawmaker in Mogadishu, the third high-profile government official to have been killed in as many days, as Somalia descended further into chaos.

“We got information confirming that Mohamed Husein Addow was shot down, we can confirm that he is dead,” deputy transport minister Mohamed Dhere told AFP.

Addow was a staunch supporter of Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the war-torn country’s internationally-backed president who has been under intense pressure since a massive insurgent offensive was launched six weeks ago.

Police official Colonel Bahir Mohamed said an investigation was under way to determine the circumstances of the killing.

According to witnesses, fighting had taken place in his northern Karan neighbourhood. The MP was reportedly captured and executed by hardline insurgents who had gained control of the area.

“This is yet another terrorist attack, only hours later,” Dhere said, in reference to the assassination Thursday in the western town of Beledweyne of Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden.

The previous day, Mogadishu’s top police commander — described as a faithful ally to Sharif — was also killed in a fierce battle in the capital.

Omar Hashi Aden, a key member of Ahmed’s embattled transitional administration, was among 20 people killed when a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a hotel in Beledweyne on Thursday.

The attack, the deadliest since an alliance of hardline insurgent groups launched a military push to topple Sharif on May 7, also left at least 30 wounded and drew a barrage of international condemnation.

“This deplorable attack is another example of the cowardly acts undertaken by those who oppose the efforts to achieve peace in Somalia,” the United States said in a statement.

Other donor countries and international organisations also reiterated their commitment to supporting Sharif, who has failed to assert his authority on the Horn of Africa country since being elected in June.

The African Union, the European Union the InterGovernmental Agency on Development, the League of Arab States and the United Nations issued a joint statement to condemn the carnage.

“This deplorable attack once again demonstrates that the extremists will stop at nothing in their desperate attempt to seize power from the legitimate government of Somalia by force,” it read.

The transitional Somali government attempted to remain in defiant mood, despite suffering one of its worst setbacks in weeks.

“The assassination of Colonel Hashi was clearly intended to try to disrupt the successful peace process aimed at restoring stability to Somalia after two decades of conflict,” a statement said.

“However these bloody murderers will not succeed,” it added.

The drive against Sharif’s administration has been spearheaded by the hardline Shebab armed group and the more political Hezb al-Islam (Party of Islam) of Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a former Sharif ally.

Aweys and the Shebab, who were among the main targets of Ethiopia’s 2006 military invasion, have refused to join peace efforts despite Ethiopia’s January pullout.

They argue that the African Union’s 4,300 Ugandan and Burundian peacekepeers are an occupation force bent on imposing Christianity in Somalia.

The radical Shebab said one of its “holy warriors” had carried out the suicide attack.

Around 300 people, may of them civilians, have been killed in the six-week-old battle and more than 125,000 displaced, according to UN figures and casualty tolls compiled by AFP.

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