Mogadishu - Somalia's al-Qaeda linked al-Shebaab insurgents ambushed
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Tuesday, the militants said, claiming to
have destroyed vehicles with rocket-propelled grenades.
"We ambushed a convoy that was escorting the self-appointed Somali
president," Shebaab spokesperson Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP.
The ambush took place near the small settlement of Buffow, close to the port
of Merka, a former Shebaab stronghold captured one year ago around 100km south
of the capital.
"We were tracking his [Mohamud's] movements...the fighting is still
going on," Musab said.
There were no immediate reports of any casualties or confirmation from
Outside the capital Mogadishu, Mohamud usually travels in an armoured convoy
under the protection of the 17 700-strong African Union force that fights
alongside the Somali army.
Shebaab fighters in May 2012 ambushed the convoy of Mohamud's predecessor,
Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, but the president escaped unharmed.
Somalia's weak central government, selected in a UN-backed process in August
2012, has made steps forward in Mogadishu but has little influence outside the
The new government was the first to be given global recognition since the
collapse of Somalia's hardline regime in 1991.
But the authorities have been dealt a number of setbacks in recent months, including
a string of Shebaab attacks, accusations of rape against the army and AU
soldiers and a pull-out by aid workers because of a wave of kidnappings and