Somalia

Gunman kills legislator in Somalia's Puntland

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BOSASSO, Somalia, Jan 5 (Reuters) - An unidentified gunman killed a member of the local parliament in Puntland on Tuesday, witnesses said, the latest political murder to rock Somalia's semi-autonomous northern region.

Witness Hussein Osman said legislator Abdullahi Ali was gunned down by a man armed with a pistol outside a mosque in Bosasso port.

"I saw the man stand beside the MP, then the MP fell down as he was shot. We ran away from the scene. Now the police are there and we can hear deafening gunfire, but we don't know who is fighting the police," he told Reuters by telephone.

Puntland has been relatively stable compared with the rest of Somalia. But violence and insecurity have risen in recent months and the region is also a major base for pirates who have been causing havoc to shipping off the Horn of Africa.

Experts say Puntland is also home to organised criminals, including money counterfeiters and human traffickers. In November, unidentified gunmen shot dead a judge who had jailed pirates and members of a hardline rebel group. A local member of parliament was killed in a separate attack.

(Writing by Abdi Sheikh; editing by Daniel Wallis, Tim Pearce)

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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