A Somali general and at least seven of his bodyguards were killed when their vehicle was rammed by a car bomb driven by an al Shabaab suicide attacker in the capital, police said.

A suicidal attacker from Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda aligned jihadist group rammed a car carrying explosives into General Mohamed Jimale Goobale’s convoy near the defense ministry headquarters in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. The attack was staged as the country was in the build-up to a vote for a new parliament and president, part of efforts to rebuild a nation that has been shattered by two decades of war and chaos.

Al Shabaab, which once ruled much of Somalia, wants to topple the Western-backed government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who is seeking re-election in the upcoming vote.Voting for the 275-seat parliament is scheduled to start on Sept 25 and end on Oct 10, with new lawmakers sworn in on Oct 30. Those lawmakers will, in turn, pick a president on Oct 30.

Due to security concerns, including the continuing al Shabaab insurgency, voting will not be based on one-person-one-vote but instead about 14,000 people representing federal states across the nation will choose members of the legislative assembly.That is a fraction of Somalia’s 11 million people, but is more than the 135 elders who picked the outgoing parliament in 2012.

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