MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A Somali lawmaker was killed when a bomb planted by Islamist militants ripped through his car in the capital Mogadishu on Monday, officials said.
Al Qaeda-linked group al Shabaab told Reuters it set off the device to punish parliamentarians for backing foreign forces in the country - and threatened to carry out more attacks.
The blast, which police said also wounded another lawmaker and a civilian, came a day after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud began a three-day conference on how to improve security in the war-ravaged capital.
President Mohamud called the killing of lawmaker Isaak Mohamed Rinoco a “cowardly attack” which would not derail peace efforts.
The bomb was placed under the car seat and exploded as Rinoco drove through Mogadishu’s Hamar Weyne district, said police captain Hussein Nur.
Al Shabaab told Reuters the attack was punishment for Somali lawmakers approving the “invasion of the Christians into Somalia”, a reference to the support Mogadishu receives from Western governments and African Union members who have sent in troops to battle the rebels.
“We killed the legislator and we shall continue killing them,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the spokesman for al Shabaab’s military operations told Reuters.
Al Shabaab was pushed out of the capital in 2011 but has since waged a bombing campaign in a bid to overthrow the government and impose its version of Islamic law.
Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Andrew Heavens