Monday, September 18, 2006

Somali leader survives bomb blast

An apparent bid to assassinate Somalia's interim president has killed at least five people outside parliament in the town of Baidoa.

A suspected car bomb went off soon after a convoy left carrying President Abdullahi Yusuf, but the leader is said to have escaped unharmed.

A second bomb exploded near the first, setting at least five cars ablaze.

Mr Yusuf has strained relations with an Islamist group which controls much of southern Somalia.

The interim government controls only Baidoa and a small area around it.
The Union of Islamic Courts deny US accusations that they are linked to al-Qaeda.
Pool of blood.

A Somali police official in Baidoa said he had counted four dead bodies.

"I saw four dead people lying in front of the parliament in a pool of blood," Shirre Moalim Nur, deputy police commissioner for the Bay region around Baidoa, told AFP news agency.

Shino Moalim, a government official, also put the death toll at four, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Other officials say those killed were guards and civilians and that no MPs had been hurt.
Somali Foreign Minister Ismail Hurre said the attack had been an assassination attempt on the president.

Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi told the BBC that President Yusuf was alive and well.
He said that five people had been killed.

Local journalist Mohamed Adawe said the blast came 10 minutes after the president had delivered a speech.

The parliament was meeting to approve Mr Ghedi's new government. MPs have been debating whether the government should share power with the UIC. They have held peace talks but have not yet reached an agreement.

President Yusuf wants foreign peacekeepers sent to Somalia - a suggestion strongly rejected by the Islamists, who say they can take care of security in a country which has not had an effective national government for 15 years.


No comments: