Somali lawmaker killed in Mogadishu
An African Union battlefield commander, Col. Paul Lokech, talks to troops near the front line with al-Shabab fighters Friday, July 29, 2011.
Unidentified gunmen have killed a Somali lawmaker in the capital Mogadishu as the country struggles with civil war and the humanitarian crisis caused by famine and drought.
Kalif Jire Warfa, 54, was gunned down in North Mogadishu in Hamar Weyne district after he left Marwaz mosque on Sunday evening, a Press TV correspondent reported.
The armed men shot Warfa in the head and shoulder six times and he died right away. The shooters managed to escape the scene, the witnessed said.
Meanwhile, al-Shabab group claimed responsibility for the attack early Monday as it had previously vowed to hunt and kill more other lawmakers and ministers of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government.
Somali government official condemned Warfa's assassination as his dead body was taken to the Somali presidential palace following the attack.
The Marwaz mosque is located in a government-controlled part of Mogadishu that has been peaceful in recent weeks.
Violence has escalated in Mogadishu as the battle between government forces backed by African Union (AU) troops and al-Shabab fighters continue.
Government forces carried out an attack on Friday, killing more than 37 al-Shabab fighters and capturing some bases in Mogadishu.
The seized positions mistakenly came under heavy shelling by AU troops, leading to the death of at least 30 Somali soldiers.
Somalia has also been hit by one of the most disastrous humanitarian crises in the world. More than 3.4 million Somalis affected by the recent famine and drought are in dire need of assistance.
However, the World Food Program has said it cannot reach 2.2 million Somalis who live in territory controlled by al-Shabab in south-central Somalia.
Meanwhile, the untimely rain that has come too late to relieve the drought-hit areas in Somalia, added to refugees' misery when it damaged many of the makeshift homes in the capital Mogadishu on Sunday.