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Two attacks hit Somalia’s capital and the region of Puntland

Somali firemen try to extinguish burning cars at the scene where a car bomb exploded in front of a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Gunman shot dead the head of Dubai government-owned P&O Ports’ operations in Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland on Monday, a local government official said, and Islamist militant group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Yusuf Mohamed, governor of Puntland’s Bari region told Reuters that two men disguised as fishermen had shot Paul Anthony Formosa as he was going to Bosaso port this morning.

He was killed “in the fish market as he was going to Bosaso port this morning. The men armed with pistols hit him (with) several bullets in the head,” Mohamed said.

Formosa was rushed to hospital where he died of his wounds. One of the attackers was shot dead by security forces at the scene and the other detained, he said. Al Shabaab said it had carried out the attack and accused Formosa of being in Somalia illegally.

“We are behind the operation … we had warned him but he turned deaf ear. He was illegally in Somalia,” said spokesman for Al Shabaab’s military operations, Abdiasis Abu Musab.

P&O Ports in Dubai did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a second incident, A car bomb exploded at a shopping mall in Somalia’s capital on Monday, killing 11 people and wounding 10 in an attack that police said was probably carried out by Islamist group al Shabaab.

The blast occurred in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district, a busy area with shops and restaurants.

“Several dead people were removed from a wrecked building at the blast scene. So far death toll is 11 civilians and 10 others injured,” police officer Mohamed Hussein said.

Hussein had earlier put the death toll at two.

A Reuters witness saw one dead person at the scene, where four cars burned and a restaurant was destroyed.

Al Shabaab want Kenya to withdraw its troops from Somalia where they are stationed as part of an African peacekeeping force which helps defend the central government.

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