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Police in Somalia Arrest 3 in Connection with Attack on President


Police in Somalia have arrested three people in connection with a failed assassination attempt on President Abdullahi Yusuf last week.

Officials say security forces Thursday raided a house in Baidoa, the seat of Somalia's transitional government. They say they found explosives during the raid.

Mr. Yusuf was not harmed in last week's attack, but five people, including the president's brother, were killed when a car bomber rammed the presidential convoy. Security guards later killed six suspected assailants in a gun battle.

The blast is believed to be Somalia's first suicide bombing. Government officials have blamed the attack on al-Qaida militants or Islamists who control much of the country's south.

Meanwhile, there has been a third day of demonstrations Thursday in Kismayo, the port town that Islamists seized control of Sunday. Witnesses say Islamist fighters fired in the air to disperse the crowd of mostly women, who were protesting a recent ban on the popular stimulant khat.

The Islamists have moved to enforce a strict form of Islamic (sharia) law in the areas under their control.

The transitional government has virtually no power outside its base in Baidoa, about 250 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu.

Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991 when warlords overthrew former president Siad Barre.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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