MOGADISHU - Gunmen shot dead a Somali lawmaker on Saturday, witnesses said, the first assassination of a member of the war-torn country's newly appointed parliament.

The unidentified assailants fired several shots at Mustaf Haji Mohamed shortly after evening prayers in Mogadishu's Waberi district, the latest in a wave of militant attacks since the assembly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Sept. 10.

Mohamud has said improving security is his priority, and such attacks underscore the scale of the challenge he faces in a country where regional administrations, clan militias, Islamist militants and pirates vie for power.

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