Somalia’s minister of public works and reconstruction, Abbas Abdullahi Siraji, was killed in Mogadishu in what was apparently an accidental shooting, government and police sources say.
In a statement, the government said it was “deeply saddened” by the death of Siraji, the youngest member of the Somali cabinet, who had grown up in a Kenyan refugee camp before winning election in 2016 and being named a minister by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.
Siraji’s vehicle was mistakenly shot at by government security guards outside the presidential palace, a senator, Ilyas Abdulahi, told AFP.
Sources said the gunmen were security guards for another government official, many of whom are escorted around the capital by armed guards in pick-up trucks.
“Armed men on board a pick-up truck in front opened fire on the minister’s car as he followed, it seems it was a mistake but it is being investigated,” said Ibrahim Mohamed, a police officer.
Siraji, 31, grew up in Dadaab, Kenya, among the world’s largest refugee camps and won a surprise victory over a former minister in elections last year.
His story was widely seen as an inspiration for a country that has suffered conflict and anarchy for the last 25 years.
Although al-Shabab militants linked to al-Qaeda carry out regular bombings and assassinations targeting government officials, there was no indication that the group was responsible for Siraji’s death.