Suspected Al Shabaab assailants have gunned down a prominent Somali elder in the capital, Mogadishu on Thursday, the latest in string of killings in the seaside city over the past few months.

The elder who was identified as Nur Afey was shot dead by men armed with pistols outside a mosque in Mogadishu’s Heliwa district, according to the eyewitnesses.

The gunmen managed to escape before police arrived at the scene, and launched a manhunt which saw the arrest of at least four suspects.

The motive behind Afey’s killing remains yet unclear, but, residents said he was a retired Police officer turned a traditional elder well-known in the area for his work towards peace and reconciliation.

Al Shabaab has previously targeted several elders in Mogadishu for voting current Federal lawmakers from the Federal member states late 2016 and security force servicemen.