Deadly blast hits government convoy in Mogadishu

Anne Soy at the scene of the blast says the attackers were "keen to make a statement"

A car bomb has exploded near a government convoy in the Somali capital Mogadishu, killing at least seven people, officials say.

A police spokesman told AFP news agency a suicide attacker had driven a car laden with explosives at an armoured government vehicle.

Eyewitnesses told the BBC a government vehicle carrying foreign aid workers had been targeted.

The attack comes days before a conference in London on Somalia.

No group said immediately it had carried out Sunday's attack.

The country's main Islamist group al-Shabab, which is part of al-Qaeda, has been forced out of the main cities in the south and centre but still controls smaller towns and many rural areas.

Map
Motionless

Ten people were also injured by the explosion, BBC reporter Mohamed Ibrahim reports from the city.

Government forces had only re-opened the main roads in Mogadishu on Saturday after a four-day ban on vehicle traffic, he adds.

The ban had been aimed at preventing attacks by al-Shabab.

A Reuters news agency photographer said he could see three people lying motionless near the wreckage of four burning cars.

The London conference will discuss how best the international community can support Somalia's progress.

More than 50 countries and organisations are due to take part when it opens on Tuesday, co-hosted by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

The UK recently re-opened its embassy in Mogadishu.

The security situation in city was thought to have been improving after two decades of conflict, despite occasional attacks.

Masked gunmen shot dead the deputy chief prosecutor, Ahmad Shaykh Nur Maalin, last month in the city centre.

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