NAIROBI Islamist militant group al Shabaab killed Somalia's former defense minister with a car bomb in capital Mogadishu on Monday, officials said.
Al Shabaab, which is aligned to al Qaeda, told Reuters it planted the car bomb that killed Muhayadin Mohamed, who was also an adviser to the speaker of Somalia's parliament.
Pictures taken by a Reuters photographer from the scene showed the passenger seat took the brunt of the damage, with passenger-side doors blown out.
"We are behind his killing," Sheikh Anbdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, told Reuters.
A police official confirmed Mohamed was killed and added a second person in the car survived the blast without any serious injuries.
Mohamed was briefly defense minister in 2008 during Somalia's transitional federal government, which was backed by United Nations and had fought alongside African Union peacekeepers to push al Shabaab out of Mogadishu and other major cities.
Al Shabaab fighters left the capital in 2011 and a permanent Somali government was established in 2012, but the government has struggled to end chronic insecurity.
Al Shabaab, which wants to impose a strict version of sharia law across Somalia, has frequently targeted government officials and lawmakers and vowed to attack Western targets at home and abroad.
(Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Andrew Heavens)