A popular Somali football referee who oversaw regional and international games has been shot dead near his home in the capital, Mogadishu, VOA reports.

Osman Jama Dirah “was killed leaving mosque on the way to his residence in Wardhigley district. Two men armed with pistols shot him several times,” the news site quotes former Somali National Team member Anas Ali Mohamud as saying.

VOA adds that Mr Mohamud says he saw the killers flee the scene, and that Somali security forces arrived but were unable to find the culprits.

“The motive for Dirah’s murder is not clear and so far no-one has claimed responsibility”, VOA reports.

Mr Mohamud says Dirah contributed to Somali soccer for more than 25 years.