Middle East

Gunmen kill two Somalis, wound Swedish politician in Mogadishu

In this file photo of Thursday Oct.21, 2010, Al-Shabaab fighters display weapons as they conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh-FILE)

MOGADISHU: Gunmen killed two Somalis and wounded a Swedish female politician in Mogadishu on Wednesday when they opened fire on their car in the latest attack in the troubled city, police said.

"A security guard and a driver was killed and a female foreigner has been injured after gunmen attacked them," said police official Abdi Mohamed.

One of the Somali men who was killed may also have held Swedish nationality, but it could not be immediately confirmed.

"Ann-Margarethe Livh, group leader of the Left Party in Stockholm, suffered a gunshot wound in Mogadishu today," her party's spokeswoman Aasa Mattsson told AFP. Livh works in Stockholm city council.

Madelen Cartagena Castillo, a family member of 64-year old Livh, told Sweden's SVT television that "she is injured but able to speak."

Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman Lena Tranberg said she was rushed to a hospital run by African Union soldiers, a UN-mandated force that backs the government.

"She has been in contact with our ambassador in Nairobi to prepare her medical transfer to Nairobi," Tranberg said.

Livh was reportedly in Mogadishu for a conference on democracy, and was travelling to visit a university when the attack took place around the K4 roundabout, a busy intersection in the heart of Somalia's capital.

Witnesses said the gunmen were in a car and tried to block the vehicle carrying the woman and her guards.

"The gunmen, who drove a car, opened fire on the car with the white lady inside," said Shamso Ismail, a witness. "One of her security guards was killed and a driver... then they fled after the shooting."

War-ravaged Mogadishu is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, despite Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked Shebab fighters pulled out of their fixed positions in the capital two years ago.

Foreigners usually travel in Mogadishu in armoured vehicles or with armed escorts.

"The white woman was bleeding, they rushed her to hospital, and then the police came and cordoned off the area," said Muktar Nure, another witness.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Shebab fighters have carried out a series of bombings, attacks and killings aimed at overthrowing the internationally backed government.

Despite recent fighting in the ranks of the Shebab and the loss of a series of towns they held to a 17,700-strong AU force, analysts warn that the extremist group is far from defeated.

In June, Shebab suicide commandos carried out a brazen daylight attack on a fortified United Nations compound, and last month a suicide car bomber attacked a Turkish embassy complex in the city.





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