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News

New Somali president unharmed after suicide blast

Somalia's newly-elected president escaped unharmed after two suicide blasts hit the capital Mogadishu. The attacks took place outside the hotel where President Hassan was meeting Kenya's foreign minister.

The African Union mission to Somalia reported on Wednesday that the new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and the visiting Kenyan foreign minister Sam Ongeri were safe following the dual explosions. Witnesses said at least one person was killed in the attacks.

"There has been a blast around the hotel where the president was. The president is safe. All the people who were inside the hotel are safe," Colonel Ali Houmed, a spokesman for the force, told news agency AFP.

The attacks come just two days after Mohamud won the second round of presidential run-off, unseating incumbent Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. His election was the final stage in the UN-backed peace plan to form Somalia's first permanent government after 22 years of war.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts. However the finger is likely to be pointed at the radical Islamist militia al-Shabab which has been waging a bloody insurgency against the government. The al Qaeda linked group had condemned Mohamud's appointment, saying it was manipulated by the west.

ccp/sej (AFP, AP, Reuters)