The Governor of the central Somali region of Hiran escaped assassination attempt after a roadside bomb targeted his convoy, killing one of his bodyguards and injuring five others, witnesses and local media reports said Thursday.
The explosion was followed by an ambush by fighters of the deposed Union of Islamic Courts, but Governor Yusuf Ahmed Hagar, was reportedly unharmed, Shabelle radio in Mogadishu reported.
The Governor was leading government soldiers pursuing alleged Islamist fighters based in the jungle around Buloburte district of Hiran region, 300 km north of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, when the attack took place.
Islamist fighters have recently been active in regions outside Mogadishu, where insurgency against Somali government forces and the Ethiopian troops was concentrated following the ouster of an Islamist-led administration from south and central Somalia by joint Ethiopian and Somali government troops in December 2006.
Insurgents have briefly seized control of the strategic town of Jawhar Wednesday. They freed prisoners, mostly insurgents and their sympathizers, from the central Jawhar prison and the local police station.
Meanwhile, in Mogadishu, two Somali government soldiers were killed by suspected insurgents in the shanty Tokyo neighborhood in Yaqshid district, witnesses said.
Near daily attacks by insurgents target government officials and Ethiopian and Somali forces. These attacks are punctuated by suicide car bombs, roadside bombs, mortar attacks and flare-ups of gun fight.
Nearly 1.5 million Somalis have fled their homes as a result of the on-going violence in south and central Somalia, particularly Mogadishu where the UN estimates nearly 60 percent of its residents were displaced in makeshift camps on the outskirts of the city.
This week, nearly 40 local and international NGOs warned of an impending catastrophe if emergency aid is not sent to the internally displaced people of the war-torn Horn of Africa nation.