NAIROBI, Kenya – A Minneapolis-based Somali lawyer was buried Thursday, one day after he was shot in the Somali capital, his relatives said.
Dozens of people, including Somali politicians, attended the burial of Bashir Ahmed Abdi, said his relative Abdiqadir Mohamed Aden.
Abdi was buried in a graveyard near the presidential palace where he was staying before being shot on Wednesday, said Aden. The purpose of Abdi's visit to Somalia was unclear.
Another relative, Abdirahman Moalin, said he was driving Abdi to a meeting in Mogadishu when a single shot fired from what looked like a government pickup truck hit Abdi beneath his shoulder, killing him instantly.
"I had no time to check other details of the car, as I was busy attending to a dying man," Moalin said. "But it had all the marks of a government car. I don't know who was inside the car but there was one man standing in the back."
Aden said relatives, including Abdi's uncle and brother, have met with senior government and intelligence officials demanding they investigate the circumstances that led to Abdi's death.
The seaside capital has been the epicenter of Somalia's violence since the Horn of Africa nation plunged into lawlessness in 1991.
Since then, tens of thousands of Somalis have resettled in the United States. But in recent years, they have returned in the hundreds either to visit relatives, or set up businesses, or even to run for political office as did the current prime minister, who had lived in New York.
On Wednesday, Mogadishu's main ambulance service said more than 4,200 civilians have been killed in the last two years in violence between Islamist insurgents and pro-government forces in the capital. The service said about 80 percent of them died as a result of indiscriminate shelling by the African Union peacekeepers protecting Somalia's fragile government.
Abdi, 51, was a businessman in Minneapolis. He was a lawyer in Somalia before he moved to the U.S. He leaves behind a wife and four children.