Unidentified armed men shot Mustafa Haji Maalim in Mogadishu, and he later died at a hospital, the U.N. special representative for Somalia said in statement condemning his killing.
The attack comes amid a wave of violence in the east African nation in recent weeks that has left dozens dead. It has also been a time of significant transition, with Somalia adopting a provisional constitution, selecting members of parliament, appointing that legislative body’s speaker and naming a new president.
“These cowardly acts of targeted assassinations and indiscriminate bombings cannot deter the remarkable courage of the Somali people, whose tenacity and determination has overcome formidable obstacles and brought us to where we are now,” said Augustine P. Mahiga, the special U.N. representative.
Maalim was the father-in-law of former Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, according to the United Nations. Ahmed was in power from 2009 until he was recently succeeded by Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a political newcomer who has worked for the United Nations and several international organizations.
The Somalian government reported on its website that Maalim had been shot dead.
Various witnesses told private Somali news outlets, including Shabelle Media Network and Garowe News, that at least two masked men shot Maalim in the southern district of Waberi in the Somali capital.
The gunmen escaped before security forces arrived at the scene, according to the witnesses.
Somalia’s shaky transitional government, backed by African Union peacekeepers, has been battling Islamic guerrillas for years. The country has lacked an effective central government since 1991, with portions of the Horn of Africa nation left lawless.
Just after sunset on Thursday, a suicide bombing in Mogadishu killed several people, the National Union of Somali Journalists said. The dead included two anchors for state-run Radio Mogadishu and the head of another official radio station, the Voice of Democracy, the two stations reported.