Somalia’s security forces have shot dead a 31-year-old government minister after mistaking him for a militant Islamist, officials have said.
He was killed in his vehicle near the presidential palace in the capital, Mogadishu, the officials added. The president has cut short his visit to Ethiopia following Abas Abdullahi Sheikh’s killing, state radio reports. He grew up in a refugee camp, and became Somalia’s youngest MP in November and a minister in February.
Somalia has been wracked by conflict since the long-serving ruler Siad Barre was ousted in 1991. It is currently battling militant Islamists from the al-Shabab group, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda. The minister was in his vehicle near the presidential palace when he was shot. Security forces on patrol came across a vehicle blocking the road and, thinking it was being driven by militants, opened fire, police Major Nur Hussein told Reuters news agency. Mr Abas was killed “by mistake – they opened fire on his car accidentally. May God rest his soul”, Mogadishu mayoral spokesman Abdifatah Omar Halane was quoted as saying.