Swedish politician attacked in Somalia’s Mogadishu


BBC – Gunmen have killed two men and wounded Swedish politician Ann-Margarethe Livh, 64, after firing on their vehicle in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, officials say.

The three were shot as they were returning to Ms Livh’s hotel after she gave a lecture on democracy at the city’s university, witnesses said.

The motive for the attack is still not clear.

Somalia is battling an Islamist-led insurgency and high levels of crime.

‘Fleeing gunmen’
Last week, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said it was closing all its programmes in Somalia because of “extreme attacks on its staff”.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since the overthrow of long-serving ruler Siad Barre in 1991.

Police officer Capt Ali Hussein said Ms Livh was being treated at a hospital run by the African Union (AU) force in Mogadishu

“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 news agency.

The two men killed are believed to be a Somali translator and a police officer acting as a bodyguard, Reuters news agency reports.

“The gunmen, who drove a car, opened fire on the car with the white lady inside… Then they fled after the shooting,” a witness, Shamso Ismail, told AFP.

Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman Lena Tranberg said arrangements were being made to fly Ms Livh to neighbouring Kenya for treatment.

Madelen Cartagena Castillo, a family member of Ms Livh, told Sweden’s SVT television that “she is injured but able to speak”, AFP reports.

Some 18,000 AU troops are in Somalia supporting the UN-backed government – the first one in more than two decades to be recognised by the US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Islamist al-Shabab militant group no longer has bases in Mogadishu and has also been pushed out of other cities.

But it remains in control of smaller towns and large swathes of the countryside in central and southern Somalia and continues to launch occasional suicide attacks.

Clan-based militia groups, pirates and criminal gangs also operate in many parts of Somalia.