Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has survived an apparent assassination attempt claimed by militant group al-Shabab.
A journalist traveling with Mohamud told VOA’s Somali Service that a roadside bomb exploded near cars in the president's convoy on Tuesday as the president traveled to the southern Somali city of Merca. He said gunshots were fired after the bomb detonated.
One Somali soldier was wounded in the attack. However, President Mohamud was unharmed and continued on to Merca.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted to an affiliate website.
A spokesman for the Somali president, Abdirahman Omar Osman, dismissed al-Shabab's statement as propaganda. He said the president's convoy was not targeted, but added that "we can't tell what happened to a convoy before us."
The Somali president sometimes travels using multiple convoys to fool potential attackers.
African Union and Ethiopian forces have driven al-Shabab out of Somalia's major cities, but the group continues to control rural areas and carries out periodic attacks.
On Monday, Mohamud opened a conference with political and religious leaders to discuss rebuilding war-torn Somalia and holding national elections by 2016.
The current government, which came to power in a U.N.-backed process last year, has been Somalia's most stable government since the fall of president Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.