Suspected Islamist rebels kill Somali army general

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MOGADISHU, Oct 6 (Reuters) Suspected Islamist insurgents killed a Somali army general in an ambush in the capital Mogadishu, witnesses said today.

Five men armed with pistols killed General Ahmed Jilaow Adow, his bodyguard and his driver late on Friday after he left his office in north Mogadishu.

''His car was blocked by a van and then a car parked next to his.

Five men armed with pistols came out, shooting my uncle, his driver and his bodyguard dead,'' the general's nephew, Abdihakin Omar Jimale, told Reuters.

''He was a peace advocate and a member of Interpol...He was internationally and locally known,'' Jimale said.

Mogadishu has been rocked by violence since Somali government forces backed by Ethiopian troops early this year ousted Islamist sharia courts movement that had ruled Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia for six months in 2006.

An insurgency has raged since then, with hardline members of the Islamist group now blamed for an Iraq-style campaign of roadside bombs, suicide blasts and assassinations.

In a separate incident, two women in their twenties were killed on last night after being held hostage for hours in the Suq Holaha vicinity in north Mogadishu, witnesses said.

''The insurgents were asking them whether they had relationships with the Ethiopian troops, and at around 10.20 p m we heard gun shots,'' said a resident, who asked not to be named. ''This morning their bodies were found dumped.'' Police spokesman Abdiwahid Hussein told local radio that Somali troops would launch a 20-day campaign tomorrow to collect arms from residents in the gun-infested city.

Somalia has been without central rule since warlords toppled former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

REUTERS SKB KN1632

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