Somali minister shot dead allegedly by another official’s bodyguards

MOGADISHU — Somalia’s Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction Mohamed Abbas Abdullahi Siraji was shot dead near the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu.

The incident involved bodyguards escorting Auditor General Nur Farah, who allegedly opened fire on the car carrying Abbas Abdullahi near a checkpoint at presidential compound, according to policeman Osman Nune.

“He was killed by the security guards of the Auditor General. I think that they suspected his vehicle,” Nune told The Messenger Africa.

He added that at least four security guards had been arrested over Wednesday’s incident in the capital.

It remains unclear the motive behind for the shooting. At 31, Siraji was the youngest minister in Somalia’s new cabinet formed in March.

President Mohamed Farmaajo said Wednesday that he is cutting short a visit to Ethiopia to take part in the burial for Minister Abbas. “I am deeply saddened by the death of minister Abass. He was young, diligent and patriotic,” he said.

“I’ve ordered the security heads to immediately get to the bottom of this unfortunate tragedy and make sure the perpetrators are brought to book,” Farmajo added.

Prior to his appointment to cabinet, Siraji was active in student politics while in university and worked both in the private sector and in humanitarian organizations.

Last month, Siraji spoke at the TEDx event in Mogadishu, where he discussed his upbringing and move into politics. He told the audience he grew up under difficult circumstances in the Dadaab refugee camp.

“At the beginning there was no housing, no water, no school, no health center, no electricity,” he said.

He went on to get a university education in Garissa and Nairobi; he studied computer science. Siraji returned from the camp to Kismayo, Somalia in 2011.

During the TEDx talk, Siraji asked the audience to ask themselves, “What can you do for your country?”