Female Somali singer and MP shot dead in Mogadishu

Witnesses said armed men ambushed Warsame’s car, sparying it with bullets, as it was travelling in the south of the capital, killing her and her driver.


“Lawmaker Saado Ali Warsame was killed with her driver by unidentified gunmen,” police officer Mohamed Hassan said.

The attack is the latest in a string of shootings and bombings targeting government officials.

Community in mourning

Somalia’s Prime Minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, has strongly condemned the killing of Warsame, describing it as “barbaric.” 

The US and the UN have also condemned the shooting.

“We offer our deepest condolences to her family. As a singer, songwriter, poet and parliamentarian Warsame exemplified all the best qualities of Somali culture and tradition,” the US State Department said in a statement.

“This is a tremendous loss to the people of Somalia and to Somalis around the world.”

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Nicholas Kay, urged authorities to act quickly to ensure the perpetrators are punished. 

“I call on the authorities to make every effort to bring the perpetrators to justice swiftly. We remain resolute in our support for the Somali people and their representatives as they work to realise their hope for a peaceful and stable future,” he said.

Warsame is the fourth Somali lawmaker to be killed since the start of the year.

Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shebab has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. Earlier this year, the group threatened to kill the country’s MPs “one by one”.

The Shebab has vowed to intensify attacks during the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“I saw the gunmen driving in a car following the MP, then they opened fire… she died instantly and the gunmen then escaped,” said Abdukadir Ali, a witness.

“The dead body of the lawmaker and her driver were left in a pool of blood.”

Warsame famed for songs on political and social justice

Warsame was famous for her songs in the 1970s, when she sang about political and social justice in opposition to the hardline rule of then dictator Siad Barre before he was toppled in 1991, an event that triggered the all-out civil war in Somalia that still drags on today.

Al-Shebab fighters fled fixed positions in Mogadishu three years ago and have since lost most large towns to a 22,000-strong UN-backed African Union force, fighting alongside government soldiers.

But they still hold sway in vast swathes of the rural hinterland from which they regularly launch guerrilla raids.

Recent al-Shebab attacks in Somalia have targeted key areas of government and security forces in an apparent bid to discredit claims by the authorities and AU troops that they are winning the war.

While the AU force launched a fresh offensive in March against al-Shebab bases, seizing a series of towns, the insurgents have largely fled in advance and suffered few casualties.

Earlier this month al-Shebab launched an assault on the presidential palace using similar tactics as an attack on the same fortified compound in February.

In May, the Islamist insurgents also launched a similar attack against the national parliament.