A popular Somali singer who was also a member of parliament has been killed by Islamist militants.
Militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for Wednesday's shooting of Saado Ali Warsame outside the Ambassador Hotel in Mogadishu. A witness told VOA that gunmen in a car shot her several times in the chest, then fled.
Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed strongly condemned Warsame's killing, describing the attack as "barbaric."
Warsame was a well-known singer formerly based in the U.S. city of Minneapolis. A lawmaker there of Somali origin, Abdikadir Hassan, told VOA he worked with Warsame on projects to fight injustice in Somalia.
“I worked with her while she was here. She was a true leader that loved her country [and] locals. Her bravery made her go to Somalia and become an official elected to parliament," said Hassan.
In 2012 Warsame returned to Somalia and became one of the few women in the country's new legislature.
She was the fourth member of parliament killed by al-Shabab this year.
The group claimed responsibility for the shooting death of lawmaker Mohamed Mohamud Hayd earlier this month and the killings of two other parliament members in April.
Saado Ali Warsame performing:
In another development, the U.S. government announced the arrests of three women on charges of providing material support to al-Shabab.
In a Wednesday statement, the Justice Department said authorities arrested two of the women in the United States while the third was arrested in the Netherlands.
Officials said two more defendants are fugitives in Somalia and Kenya.
Somalia's internationally backed government has struggled to stabilize the country in the face of continued al-Shabab activity. The al-Qaida-linked militant group has attacked the presidential palace twice this year and has blocked roads to government-controlled towns, contributing to local food shortages.
In a separate incident, al-Shabab has executed a teenage girl whom the militant group accused of spying for the government.
Fartun Abdinasir Mohamed was executed by firing squad in the town of Dinsor. The girl's father told VOA that his daughter was 13 years old and denied that she was a spy.