Somali security forces shot a minister for public works dead in his car in the capital Mogadishu on Wednesday after mistaking him for an Islamist militant, officials said. Mogadishu mayoral spokesman Abdifatah Omar Halane said the minister, Abbas Abdullahi Sheikh Siraji, who was also a lawmaker, was killed "by mistake - they opened fire on his car accidentally. May God rest his soul".
The Somali government arrested two soldiers on Thursday in connection with the killing, the minister of information said.
Police Major Nur Hussein told Reuters that security forces on patrol encountered a car blocking the street and, believing it was being driven by militants, opened fire.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab militants often carry out attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere in their campaign to topple Somalia's government and drive out African Union peacekeeping troops out of the Horn of Africa country.
The country's youngest minister, the 31-year-old was an inspiration to many Somalis having grown up in a Kenyan refugee camp, and his death caused an outpouring of grief online.
"Two bodyguards of the auditor general are now in the central cell in Mogadishu. We are investigating them over who killed the minister," the deputy prosecutor of Somalia’s military court, Mumin Hussein Abdullahi, told Reuters.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed cut short a visit to neighbouring Ethiopia to fly home and attend the burial. "The public works minister was patriotic and was known for his ability and efficiency," said a statement from the president's office.
Militants from the al Qaeda-affiliated group al Shabaab have carried out frequent attacks in Mogadishu as they fight to topple Somalia's Western-backed government and drive out African Union peacekeeping troops. Somalia has been at war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.
With inputs from Reuters
Published Date: May 05, 2017 09:11 am | Updated Date: May 05, 2017 09:11 am