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Last Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Eyewitness: The day Baidoa was rocked
The BBC's reporter Mohammed Olad Hassan described what he saw and heard during the apparent bid to assassinate Somalia's interim president outside the makeshift parliament in the town of Baidoa. He was inside the converted former warehouse at the time of the explosion.

Somali couple walk past a destroyed car after an explosion in Baidoa
Seven cars caught fire in the explosions
There were two different explosions outside the parliament building.

One after another.

I was inside the compound with other journalists and the ministers where there was a discussion going on.

The whole room that we were in rocked.

Everybody stood up from their chairs, thinking it was inside, and everybody was frightened.

We rushed to get out of the building but the police forces informed us to stay inside.

Warning shots

The police were firing in the sky - warning shots.

Everybody was very confused and no-one knew what was going on.

Inside there were 18 of us journalists and 199 MPs.

map

The parliamentarians were all using their mobiles to call different people here and there to try and find out if they maybe knew what was going on.

The speaker of the house kept calling for calm and for the discussion to continue.

After we had been inside for about 25 minutes, we were allowed to leave the building.

We were told that the second car of the president's convoy had been blown up.

Sparks, smoke and fire

Police officer Bashir Jama told me that he saw the explosion.

The car that was apparently booby-trapped was packed with people and surrounded by other cars in the president's convoy.

He said that he saw the explosion - the sparks, and the ball of smoke that flew into the air as seven cars burst into fire.

People were coming out of the windows and doors before hitting the ground in pools of blood, he told me.

So far it is not clear how many of the president's people were killed but certainly, many people have been wounded.

It was just the government people and some of their militiamen in the area. No civilians were about.

Police were deployed immediately.

The area where the explosion happened is still full of police and all the roads leading to and from the interim parliamentary building have been blocked.

Checkpoints have been set up and all those coming and going are being questioned.

They are trying to find out who was behind the assassination attempt.



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Baidoa blasts
18 Sep 06 |  In Pictures

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