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Shock as man armed with AK-47 kills his wife's family members in Somalia

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - An unidentified man opened fire indiscriminately on Wednesday evening at a house in the suburbs of Mogadishu, officials said, leaving at least four family members dead and five injured, in an incident that would raise questions about safety in the Somali people.

The shocking incident happened in Tabelaha Sheikh Ibrahim area near Mogadishu but it was not immediately clear why the man opened fire. According to reports, the suspect was armed with an AK 47 and had several rounds of ammunition when he fired.

But some eyewitness said the incident had much to do with a family dispute, although it could not be immediately established why he resorts to killing his relatives. The names of the deceased persons are yet to be released by the police.

"The man came to the house on foot, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and then opened fire indiscriminately at the family of his wife, killing 4 on the spot and wounding five others who have been rushed to a nearby hospital," said a witness, who spoke to Garowe Online via phone.

Scores of bystanders and neighbors who were injured during the melee were rushed to the hospital where they are currently recuperating. Police immediately secured the scene and have since commenced investigations, officials said.

After the shootout, the perpetrator is said to have fled from the scene to and sought refuge in neighboring villages, but police have since launched a manhunt for the suspect, whose name and other crucial details still remain scanty according to the authorities.

Cases of domestic violence are common in Somalia and women and children to have borne the brunt of consequences. The cases, coupled with wife battering and rape, have been documented in the past, forcing the government to push for enactment of laws that can help victims.

The absence of such a law has triggered mounting incidents of the government's inability to prosecute such cases in court. There is no evidence of the man being licensed to own a gun but thousands of people who don't serve in security forces have access to such sophisticated weapons.

Since the country plunged into political turmoil in the 90s, gun ownership remains largely unregulated in Somalia. In many instances, the tribal militia has acquired guns solely to protect their clans from onslaught either from government or Al-Shabaab militants.

The Al-Shabaab militants are known to import weapons from overseas with impunity, a move which led to the imposition of an arms embargo on Somalia by the United Nations Security Council in 2014. Despite the restrictions, the militants are still able to smuggle weapons to the country.

Mogadishu has been recording cases of insecurity in recent months despite the heavy presence of security forces, both from the African Union Mission in Somalia and local police and Somali National Army. The government has, however, expressed confidence that the local forces are able to handle the incidents.


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