A prominent Somali referee Osman Jama Dirah was gunned down Thursday night by unknown assailants outside his home in the capital Mogadishu.

He was shot multiple times on his way from a neighbouring mosque by two men armed with pistols, a friend of the deceased and former national footballer Anas Ali Mohamud told the VOA.

They fled the scene immediately. The reason for his killing is unknown.

Osman Jama Dirah has served as a referee for over 20 years and is an active member of the Somali Football Federation.

Armed groups target popular figures in Somalia including journalists.

Last year, Somali radio journalist Abdiaziz Ali Haji was shot dead in Mogadishu by unidentified gunmen.

A young Somali female journalist, Sagal Salad Osman, who worked for state-run media SNTV, was also killed months earlier.

She was the second journalist to be killed in six months after Hinda Haji Mohamed who also worked for the state media was killed in a car bomb in Mogadishu in December 2015.

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