3 soldiers arrested in shooting death of Somalia minister

Mogadishu - Three soldiers have been arrested in connection with the killing of a Somalia government minister near the presidential palace, police said on Thursday.

Police spokesperson Qaasim Ahmed confirmed the arrests as an investigation continued into the circumstances around the shooting, which appeared to be accidental.

Police have said bodyguards for Somalia's auditor general Nur Farah shot dead the public works and reconstruction minister, Abbas Abdullahi, on Wednesday evening. The car carrying the minister had been trailing the car carrying the auditor general, promoting his bodyguards to open fire.

Two of the arrested soldiers were among the auditor general's bodyguards and the third was a bodyguard of the late minister, the police spokesman said.

Security concerns are high in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, as the al-Shabab extremist group continues to target the palace, military facilities and hotels with suicide car bombings and other attacks.

Somalia's prime minister on Thursday fired the auditor general over the shooting incident.

The late minister had been the youngest in Somalia's new Cabinet. He was a former refugee who spent a large part of his life at a camp in Kenya, and he was being mourned Thursday as one of a new generation of Somali leaders who have spent years overseas as part of the country's two-million-strong diaspora.

Somalia's new President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who himself also holds US citizenship, has vowed to improve security in this Horn of Africa country, which has seen a quarter-century of chaos. Meanwhile, al-Shabaab has said it will step up its attacks after Mohamed announced a new military offensive against the group, which has used Somalia as a base for attacks in East Africa.

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