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Somali minister ‘mistakenly’ shot dead in Mogadishu

Somalia’s minister of public works and reconstruction, Abbas Abdullahi Siraji, was killed in Mogadishu in what was apparently an accidental shooting, government and police sources say.

In a statement, the government said it was “deeply saddened” by the death of Siraji, the youngest member of the Somali cabinet, who had grown up in a Kenyan refugee camp before winning election in 2016 and being named a minister by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

Siraji’s vehicle was mistakenly shot at by government security guards outside the presidential palace, a senator, Ilyas Abdulahi, told AFP.

Sources said the gunmen were security guards for another government official, many of whom are escorted around the capital by armed guards in pick-up trucks.

A Somali soldier patrols next to the burnt-out wreckage of a car that was used by suspected al-Shabab militants, April 16, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

“Armed men on board a pick-up truck in front opened fire on the minister’s car as he followed, it seems it was a mistake but it is being investigated,” said Ibrahim Mohamed, a police officer.

Siraji, 31, grew up in Dadaab, Kenya, among the world’s largest refugee camps and won a surprise victory over a former minister in elections last year.

His story was widely seen as an inspiration for a country that has suffered conflict and anarchy for the last 25 years.

Although al-Shabab militants linked to al-Qaeda carry out regular bombings and assassinations targeting government officials, there was no indication that the group was responsible for Siraji’s death.

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