Two killed as mayor survives bomb attack

MOGADISHU - A roadside bomb said to have been targeting the mayor of the Somali capital Mogadishu killed two people yesterday and wounded two others.

The blast came barely three days after the Somali prime minister's convoy was attacked in the same city and four days after four Ugandan peacekeepers died in a similar attack.

"Two died and two were wounded. I think the bomb attack was targeting Transitional Federal Government officials. All the casualties were civilians," a security source said.

The mayor was going to his office in a convoy and the remote-controlled bomb - fashioned from a landmine - exploded on a road in the north of the city, the source said.

"Fortunately the bomb exploded before his vehicle passed," Mohamed Osman, a deputy mayor who was not part of the convoy, said.

"No one was hurt in the convoy. The man who detonated the bomb was captured as he was trying to flee. He was killed."

Osman added that another man who had provided shelter, from where the bomber detonated the explosive, was arrested.

There has been a respite in fighting in Mogadishu since Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi declared victory over Islamist insurgents after battles in March and April that killed at least 1300 people and flattened entire neighbourhoods.

But there have been increasing cases of attacks using Iraqi-style guerrilla tactics - including roadside bombs and targeted assassinations.

The interim government, backed by Ethiopian troops, tanks and warplanes, routed the Islamists from Mogadishu and southern Somalia in a quick war over the New Year. - Reuters