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.

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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.