Mogadishu: At least five people were killed on Monday in a huge explosion targeting a senior official in the southern Somali town of Baidoa, police said.
"The target was a pick-up truck transporting a senior local official," police spokesman Mohamed Moalim Abdirahman said.
"He escaped the attack, but two of his security guards were killed along with three civilians."
The town, which is under the control of government troops backed by African Union forces, was wrested off the al Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels two years ago.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Shebab have carried out a string of bombings and vowed to overthrow the war-torn country`s internationally-backed but fragile government.
"I saw the dead bodies of five people around the site of blast... Several other people were wounded," witness Hassan Nurow said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the blast, but some witnesses said a suicide bomber had rammed a car laden with explosives into the pick-up.
The Shebab have been driven out of fixed positions in Somalia`s major towns by the UN-mandated AU force, but still regularly launch attacks that include bombings and guerrilla-style raids.