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2 Somali Lawmakers Assassinated in Mogadishu

  • Gabe Joselow

Mourners carry the body of Somali lawmaker Abdiaziz Isaq Mursal for burial in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, April 22, 2014.

Mourners carry the body of Somali lawmaker Abdiaziz Isaq Mursal for burial in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, April 22, 2014.

Two Somali lawmakers have been assassinated in Mogadishu, within 24 hours of each other, in attacks claimed by the Somali militant group al-Shabab. The latest killings underscore the security challenges facing the Somali government.

Somali officials say unidentified gunmen shot and killed parliament member Abdiaziz Isaak Mursal as he was leaving his home in the capital early Tuesday.

A day earlier, another MP, Isaak Mohammed, was killed by a bomb hidden in his car. The explosion left another lawmaker seriously wounded.

The militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed condemned Tuesday's killing and said such violence only strengthens Somalia's resolve to defeat terrorism.

A spokesman for the prime minister, Ridwaan Haji, praised the work of the two lawmakers.

“Both MP's were committed to help the country, they were really tirelessly supporting local communities and they wanted to see Somalia in a peaceful way,” Haji said.

Al-Shabab fighters have launched sporadic but devastating attacks against the government in Mogadishu and against international agencies working in the capital.

The Islamist group, which used to control huge swathes of Mogadishu, has been under pressure in recent weeks, as the African Union peacekeeping force, known as AMISOM, has reclaimed at least 10 towns previously controlled by the militants.

Haji said the security situation in the country has been improving despite the recent attacks, and that the government will find those responsible.

“It is a concern and the government will [use] all its efforts to investigate and protect members of parliament or other citizens in the country,” Haji said.

AMISOM also has condemned the attacks, saying on Twitter Tuesday that the force “will work with Somali security forces to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

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