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Attack on Somali official's car kills 3 guards, 2 civilians

Saturday, November 01, 2008

MOGADISHU (AFP) - At least five people were killed Saturday in a roadside bomb attack targeting a local official in the Somali town of Baidoa, south of Mogadishu, witnesses and police said.

The blast went off as district commissioner Hasan Moalim Ahmed's vehicle drove by, wounding the official and killing three members of his security escort as well as two civilians, witnesses said.

"The commissioner's vehicle was completely destroyed by a roadside bomb. I saw three of his guards and two civilians killed on the spot, seven others including the commissioner were also wounded," one of the eyewitnesses, Abdisalan Adan Yare, said.

Hasan Yake Doyow, a police officer, confirmed the attack took place.

"The roadside bomb tore the commissioner's vehicle apart and there are casualties. The commissioner himself was among the wounded but I cannot say how many died," he said.

One of the official's aides said the district commissioner's wounds were not life-threatening.

"He suffered minor injuries but some of his guards died," he said on condition of anonymity.

Baidoa is the seat of the transitional administration's parliament but radical insurgents control positions around the city, some 250 kilometres (155 miles) south of the capital.

Islamist insurgents and other groups carry out daily hit-and-run attacks against government targets and Ethiopian troops.

Somalia's civilian population has borne the brunt of the violence in the Horn of Africa country, with some estimates saying at least 8,000 have died since the start of the year alone.

Source: AFP, Nov 01, 2008