A prominent Somali imam and 17 worshippers have been killed by extremists in the northern city of Galkayo after playing music as part of their religious ceremonies, police have said.

Two suicide bombers detonated explosives in front of Sheikh Abdiweli Ali Elmi’s residence, which is also a Sufi shrine, and then four gunmen stormed the building and opened fire, said Ahmed Awale, a police officer in Galkayo.

At least 20 others were injured, he said.

Somali security forces rushed to the scene, leading to exchanges of heavy gunfire in the building.
Three of the four attackers were killed in the shoot-out and one was captured alive, the police said.

Somalia’s extremist rebels, al-Shabab, have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sheikh Elmi has hundreds of followers, but had generated controversy after publishing videos showing him and his followers chanting religious poems with music, which some extremists say is not Islamic.
The imam had defended his actions, saying music is not contrary to Islamic teachings
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