Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Six people, including two MPs, have been killed in a suicide attack in central Somalia, authorities in the town of Dusa Mareb have said.
Eyewitnesses told the BBC the attack targeted a group of about 20 politicians at an outdoor cafe.
They were in Dusa Mareb in Galgadud region - which is controlled by a pro-government militia - to promote reconciliation.
The Islamist militant group al-Shabab has said it was behind the attack.
They are under pressure on a number of military fronts in the south of Somalia - but still mount frequent attacks and control much of the country.
'Act of terrorism'
Al-Sunna Wal Jama'a, the militia which controls much of Galgadud, said the suicide attacker was among the dead.
Several other MPs and prominent politicians - including former Security Minister Ahmed Abdi Salam - were also injured in the attack, officials told the BBC.
Al-Shabab, which merged with al-Qaeda in February, phoned the BBC Somali Service to say it was behind attack on the tea shop where the politicians were resting after holding meetings with residents on Tuesday morning.
Somali Prime Minster Abdiweli Mohamed Ali condemned the attack, telling the BBC it was "an act of terrorism".
The Horn of Africa nation has been without an effective central government since 1991 and has been racked by fighting ever since.
The UN-backed transitional Somali government only controls the capital, Mogadishu.
Last month, African Union troops - which back the government - for the first time deployed to Baidoa, a strategic south-western town, after it was wrested from al-Shabab's control by Ethiopian troops.