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Regional minister assassinated in Somalia

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

JOWHAR, Somalia - A regional minister was assassinated by unknown assailants in Somalia on Thursday evening, senior government officials confirmed, in the latest wave of violence targeting security forces and state officers, usually engineered by the notorious Al-Shabaab militants.

Nur Hashi Abdulle was killed on the spot by unknown assailants as he left the mosque in Jowhar, the regional administrative capital of HirShabelle state, in what analysts condemned as security lapse, which could further raise questions from among stakeholders.

Until his death, Nur Hashi Abdulle served as the minister for the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs and also doubled as an MP in HirShabelle regional parliament. His death was received with shock and protest from hundreds of his supporters in the state.

Mohamed Abdi Waare, the regional president, condemned the death of the minister and called for immediate investigations. The assailants, he added, should be arrested and prosecuted regardless of their race, religion, and political affiliation.

"We are really disturbed with this wave of violence targeting our people. It's one of the incidents which must be condemned," he said in a statement, adding that: "We shall ensure that those behind the act are arrested and prosecuted in the record time."

Until now, no group is yet to take responsibility for the attack but Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants are known for targeting such officers. For the last 13 years, the group has been trying to overthrow the weak UN-backed Somalia government, besides pushing for the imposition of strict Sharia laws that are against Islam.

Waare added: "We must ensure that our community is protected from these heartless criminals who do not have an ideology consistent with our ideals. It's important that our security forces also ensure they are locked out of our state."

Nur Hashi Abdulle is not the first state minister to be killed in controversial circumstances. Last year, the regional state minister for Agriculture who also doubled as MP, one Abdulkadir Abukar was also shot dead in Jowhar, which is located 90 km north of Mogadishu, the country's capital city.