Somalia court sentences soldier to death for killing cabinet minister

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Somalia

A Somali court has sentenced a soldier to death for killing the country’s youngest cabinet minister in May.

Ahmed Abdullahi Abdi killed Hon. Abas Abdullahi Siraji in his car near the presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu, after reportedly mistaking him for a militant Islamist.

The military court sentenced the soldier to death by firing squad, though said he can appeal the ruling.

Abdullahi Abdi’s lawyers argued that the killing was an accident.

They said that the minister’s car attracted suspicion after it drove up behind the car carrying the auditor general, who the soldier was protecting.

At 31, Mr Siraji became Somalia’s youngest-ever member of parliament last November before becoming the minister of public works earlier this year.

Somalia has been dogged by conflict since the ouster of long-serving ruler Siad Barre in 1991.

It is currently battling militant Islamists from the al-Shabab group, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda.