Somalia’s Public Works Minister shot dead in Mogadishu

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Somalia’s Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction, Abbas Abdullahi Sheikh Siraji, has been shot and killed by soldiers in the capital Mogadishu. It is reported that soldiers may have mistakenly opened fire.

The incident happened on early Wednesday evening when Siraji came under fire as he drove his vehicle near the presidential palace, which is known as Villa Somalia. He was killed with a single shot which penetrated the car’s front window.

“Somali Minister of Public works died this evening in Mogadishu following gunfire from soldiers,” Information Minister Abdirahman Osman said. “[He] was the youngest in the cabinet [and] had [a] full and promising future ahead of him.”

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. He praised Siraji as “diligent and patriotic.”

“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,” Mohamed said in a statement.

Officials provided no information about the circumstances of the shooting, but Radio Dalsan cited a source as saying that soldiers may have perceived the vehicle as a threat. Further information was not immediately available.

Siraji was sworn in as Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction on April 4 and, at age 31, he was the youngest member of Somalia’s cabinet. Siraji’s age and background as a former refugee made him popular among the country’s youth.

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