GUNMEN believed to be Al-Shabaab militants have assassinated a state minister for the regional ministry of religious affairs in the southern town of Jowhar on Thursday evening.

Nur Hashi Warsame, who was also a member of HirShabelle state parliament has been shot dead outside a mosque following the evening prayers, according to the police sources.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the murder which becomes the second high-profile figure to be killed in the city since last August.