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Witnesses say the businessmen were attacked early evening Saturday in the central area of the city. Said Shire Walbaq, a well-known livestock trader, was gunned down by three armed men on his way home from mosque. A passer-by was also killed. A second businessman, Abdisalam Warsame, was shot dead shortly after the first attack, with several civilians suffering injuries.
Police said several arrests had been made, and blamed Mohamed Said Atam, whose militia clashed with Puntland security forces in Galgala in the mountainous region of Bari recently, of being behind the attacks in an attempt to destablize the relatively peaceful region of Puntland.
Atam is believed to have close ties with militant Islamist group al-Shabaab, which is battling the weak Western-backed government in southern and central Somalia.
Puntland has seen a spate of assassinations and gun attacks in recent months, with al-Shabaab the chief suspect – although clan divisions and piracy have also been cited as factors in some killings.