Al-Shabab kills Somali MP in Mogadishu

Al-Shabab fighters in  Mogadishu, Somalia (5 March 2012) Al-Shabab, which wants an Islamic state in Somalia, held the strategic town of Bulo-burde until March

Somalia's militant Islamist group al-Shabab says it has shot dead a prominent MP in the capital, Mogadishu.

Ahmed Mohamud Hayd was killed in a drive-by shooting after he left his hotel in a heavily policed area, witnesses said.

His bodyguard was also killed and a parliamentary secretary wounded in the shooting, witnesses added.

Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has vowed to step up attacks during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

It lost control of Mogadishu to a 22,000-strong African Union (AU) force in 2011, but has continued to carry out bombings and assassinations in the city.

The killing of Mr Hayd - a former army commander and government minister - has shocked many people, the BBC's Moalimu Mohammed reports from Mogadishu.

An African Union soldier takes cover during a battle in Somalia on 22 May 2012 The African Union success in wresting control of Mogadishu has not stopped militant attacks

The shooting was brazen, with gunmen following Mr Hayd and then opening fire on his vehicle.

Al-Shabab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab said the group had carried out the "targeted assassination".

"We will continue to hunt other MPs if they do not leave the apostate organisation [parliament]," he told AFP news agency.

The al-Qaeda-linked group wants to establish an Islamic state in Somalia.

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