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Blast in Somali Capital, as African Union Team Visits

A bomb exploded in the Somali capital, where an African Union delegation is visiting to assess security for the deployment of peacekeepers. Officials say at least two people were killed and five wounded. While authorities investigate whether the attack targeted the AU delegation, the government of Somalia says it is still determined to relocate to Mogadishu from its temporary headquarters in Kenya.

The spokesman for Somalia's Council of Ministers, Mohamud Jama, told VOA Thursday's bomb attack in Mogadishu will not deter the government from setting up offices there.

"The very reason we should go back to Mogadishu is to re-establish law and order," he said. "If we do not go there, who will establish law and order?"

An official who declined to give his name for security reasons told VOA the bomb was hidden on a motorbike parked near the Sahafi Hotel, where members of the African Union team are staying during a two-week fact-finding mission.

Earlier this month, a producer for the British Broadcasting Corporation was shot dead at the Sahafi Hotel.

Some government officials see the violence as an effort to keep the government from returning to Mogadishu, but say they will not be scared away.

The African Union is in Somalia to lay the groundwork for a peace support mission to help create a safe environment for the new government.

As the group arrived, thousands of Somalis thronged the streets of Mogadishu, protesting the planned inclusion of troops from Ethiopia and Djibouti in the peace support mission.

Some analysts say hardline Muslim groups are particularly opposed to having foreign forces coming into Somalia, and have shown their opposition through violent means.