MOGADISHU, June 22 (Reuters) – The Islamist militant group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the killing of a senior Somalia security official, who was was gunned down late on Tuesday by one of his own bodyguards.
Abdiweli Ibrahim Mohamed, the head of national security in Somalia’s Middle Shebelle region, was shot dead in Jowhar, a town 90 kilometres north of Mogadishu.
“Two other bodyguards were wounded,” Ahmed Mohamud, a police officer in Jowhar, said. “The assassin ran away, we are pursuing him.”
Residents said the bodyguard who shot the security chief was a former member of al Shabaab who had defected to the government.
A spokesman for al Shabaab, an al Qaeda linked group which seeks to topple the western backed government in Mogadishu and impose Islamic law, or sharia, claimed responsibility.
“We are behind the killing of the head of the national security for Middle Shebelle region,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for the group’s military operations, told Reuters late on Tuesday.
An African Union (AU)-mandated force, AMISOM, forced al Shabaab from most of its strongholds in southern Somalia, but it continues to conduct deadly attacks on Somalia’s security forces, AMISOM and civilian targets, mostly in the capital Mogadishu. (Reporting by Feisal Omar and Abdi Sheikh; writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)