A Somali MP renowned for her popular folk singing has been killed along with her driver in a shooting in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, a police official said, in a second such incident this month.

Saado Ali Warsame was shot dead in the Hodan district on Wednesday by gunmen who pulled up near her car in another vehicle, said Mohamed Hussein, a police captain. 

"I saw the gunmen driving in a car following the MP, then they opened fire ... she died instantly and the gunmen then escaped," Abdukadir Ali, a witness, told the AFP news agency.

The armed group al-Shabab said it carried out the attack on Warsame, according to the AP news agency. 

She was the fourth politician killed this year and the second MP killed in a drive-by attack since the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

On July 3, gunmen also killed Mohamed Mohamud Heyd as he was leaving his hotel in Mogadishu.

Warsame was famous for her songs in the 1970s, when she sang about political and social justice in opposition to the hardline rule of Siad Barre before he was toppled in 1991. That event triggered the all-out civil war in Somalia that still drags on today.

Mohamed Ali, a Somali MP who knew Warsame, described her as "courageous and patriotic'' saying she was the victim of "terrorists who want to cripple the country".

Shabab fighters fled fixed positions in Mogadishu three years ago and have since lost most large towns to a 22,000-strong UN-backed African Union force, fighting alongside government soldiers.

But they still hold sway in areas of the rural hinterland, from which they regularly launch attacks.

Source: Agencies