Security forces have foiled an attempted suicide attack by Islamist militants on a political conference in central Somalia.
A suicide car bomb is reported to have rammed into the gate of the conference hall in the town of CADAADO.
Three gunmen stormed out but AMISOM troops killed them before they could advance.
The Al Shabaab group, which frequently attacks officials, politicians and lawmakers in its bid to topple the Western-backed government in Mogadishu, claimed responsibility.
More than 400 local politicians, leaders and clan elders were meeting in the town to discuss the formation of a regional government when the gunmen tried to storm the building, with one blowing himself up in a bid to breach the gates.
“Four Shabaab militants tried to storm the conference centre in Adado this morning but the security forces stopped them,” said security official Mohamed Sugule in the town, some 500km north of the capital Mogadishu.
One of them detonated himself at the gate to let others make their way into the compound, but all of them were killed.
Somali government and African Union troops from Ethiopia were providing security for the conference, which began in early May. Leaders are discussing ways to establish an administration within the framework of Somalia’s federal system.
The Shabaab, who are fighting to overthrow the country’s internationally-backed government, warned participants they would be attacked.
Somali government soldiers and troops with the AU force face frequent bomb attacks and ambushes launched by the Shabaab Islamists.