Somali lawmaker shot dead in latest militant attack

MOGADISHU Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:03pm EDT

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MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Gunmen shot dead a Somali lawmaker on Saturday, witnesses said, the first assassination of a member of the war-torn country's newly appointed parliament.

The unidentified assailants fired several shots at Mustaf Haji Mohamed shortly after evening prayers in Mogadishu's Waberi district, the latest in a wave of militant attacks since the assembly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on September 10.

Mohamud has said improving security is his priority, and such attacks underscore the scale of the challenge he faces in a country where regional administrations, clan militias, Islamist militants and pirates vie for power.

On Friday, gunmen shot dead a radio reporter, a day after three journalists were among 15 people killed in a suicide bombing that targeted a popular restaurant.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting of Mohamed.

"Mustaf Haji Mohamed was shot dead by merciless individuals after coming out of the mosque," Mohamed Osman Jawaari, speaker of parliament, said in a statement. "He was a loyal citizen."

Mohamed Hussein, a neighbor of Mohamed, said the lawmaker was killed outside his home.

(Reporting by Mohamed Ahmed; Editing by Richard Lough and Pravin Char)

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