Minister Abdullahi Sheikh Abas killed in Mogadishu

Minister Abdullahi Sheikh Abas killed in Mogadishu

Captain Mohamed Hussein says bodyguards escorting Nur Farah opened fire on a vehicle carrying Abbas Abdullahi, the public works and reconstruction minister, near a checkpoint close to the presidential palace on Wednesday evening.

It is believed the bodyguards mistook the minister's auto for one belonging to the Islamist rebel group, al-Shabaab, which regularly attacks government targets with car-bombs.

Public works minister Abbas Abdullahi Sheikh Siraji died in his auto on Wednesday when security forces on patrol in the capital Mogadishu opened fire on the vehicle, believing it was being driven by militants, officials said. "We are investigating them over who killed the minister", the deputy prosecutor of Somalia's military court, Mumin Hussein Abdullahi, told Reuters.

Somalia's security forces have been fighting the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab militant group, which carries out suicide and regular gun and grenade attacks in the capital, Mogadishu.

The 31-year-old Abbas Abdullahi Sheik Siraji was appointed Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction by Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Kheyre in March this year.

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He was killed in his vehicle near the presidential palace in the capital, Mogadishu, the officials added.

The slain minister was driving his auto when the government soldiers opened fire and killed him in the process.

President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed said he was "deeply saddened" by the news and said he would cut short his visit to Ethiopia to attend the minister's funeral.

Siraji, a former humanitarian worker, was born in Somalia but grew up and was educated in one of the world's biggest refugee camps, Dadaab, in neighbouring Kenya.

The new president has vowed to improve security in the Horn of Africa country, which has seen a quarter-century of chaos.

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