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Somali Government Official Killed After Mogadishu Evictions

A bomb attack in Mogadishu has killed a Somali government official, after Somali forces evicted hundreds of families and destroyed up to 500 makeshift houses near the airport.

Government officials say the district commissioner for Hamar Jajab district, Ahmed Sheikh Mohamoud Qorleh, was on his way to the Afisyoneh neighborhood when a bomb exploded near his vehicle and killed him. The deputy security official of Mogadishu and a driver were wounded in the blast.

Qorleh was the officer in charge of enforcing the evictions of hundreds of families from Afisyoneh neighborhood. Mogadishu's mayor ordered the evictions, saying the homes could be used by the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab to launch attacks.

The mayor told VOA Somali service that mutinous members of the government's security forces were responsible for Qorleh's death. But other sources say al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Somali forces evicted hundreds of families late Thursday before destroying the makeshift houses. Many of the families say they have nowhere else to go.

Although Somalia's U.N.-backed government still has control of the airport, militant groups al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam control large parts of the capital and southern Somalia.

More than half of Mogadishu's residents already have fled due to the chaos and violence since the fall of Somalia's last stable government in 1991.