Seven Pakistan nationals from a Muslim religious were on Wednesday killed in the central Somali town of Galkayo after unidentified gunmen raided a mosque they were preaching in, a local official said.
A dozen masked gunmen stormed the local mosque, forcing the seven Pakistanis preachers along with a Somali outside and firing on them indiscriminately before fleeing the scene, Hussein Abdulahi, the mayor of Galkayo, told Xinhua.
Five of the Pakistani nationals from the Tabliqi Muslim religious group died on the spot while two others died later at the local hospital, while a Somali is receiving treatment on wounds he sustained in the attack, Mayor Abdulahi added.
"The seven Pakistanis arrived two days ago at the Galkayo airport where their passports are being kept. They came here through Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland," the senior official said.
Somaliland is an autonomous region, which is part of Somalia.
The Tabliqis are moderate Muslim group devoted to the preaching of the Islamic teachings in many parts of the world and are mainly based in Pakistan
It is not yet clear who was behind the attack but the area where the local mosque is situated is border between two separate local administrations which said they were cooperating in the pursuit of perpetrators of the killing.
Galkayo, 750 km north of Mogadishu, is the provincial capital of Mudug Province in north-central Somalia and has been relatively stable compared to the south of the war-torn country where nearly daily violence rages between the Somali government forces backed by slightly more than 5, 000 African Union peacekeepers and the Islamist insurgents.
(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2009)