Somalia: Al-Shabab kills regional MPs in attack near Mogadishu
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Heavily armed Al-Shabaab militants have launched an ambush attack on a military escorting convoy outside Mogadishu on Tuesday, killing at least 9 people, including regional lawmakers, Garowe Online reports.
The attack occurred at Elka-Gelow, a semi-forest area on the main tarmac road linking Bal'ad to Jowhar, about 90 kilometres north of the capital, locals who asked to remain anonymous, told Garowe Online by phone.
Two members of HirShabelle state parliament who were identified as Dahir Mukhtar Abdulle and Ismail Mumin Hilowle were killed in the assault. Six bodyguards and a local official were among the dead.
The convoy came under attack which led to a heavy exchange of gunfire between the attackers and the soldiers protecting the regional lawmakers who were travelling to Mogadishu at the time of the incident.
"The extremists fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the convoy before engaging a deadly gunfighting the soldiers guarding the two MPs and other officials," said Hassan Jama, a military commander in the region.
In the past, Al-Shabab has carried out similar attacks on the road, targeting government officials, civilians and forces of the African Union mission in Somalia, known as [AMISOM].
Last March, a state minister of security for Southwest Regional State and a state lawmaker from HirShabelle Regional State and two of their guards were killed in a roadside bomb attack near Afgoye district.
The officials were returning from talks at Baledogle airfield in Lower Shabelle region which was discussed on plans to reopen the Mogadishu-Baidoa road which was blockaded by Al-Shabaab.
Southwest Regional State president, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, senior Somali military officials and advisers for U.S. forces in Somalia have attended the meeting.
Since the start of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists have killed dozens of people in Mogadishu as part of its fight aimed at ousting the Western-backed weak Somali government.