Two car bombs explode in Somali capital, at least five wounded

Abdi Sheikh and Abdirahman Hussein

By Abdi Sheikh and Abdirahman Hussein

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Two car bombs exploded in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday, wounding at least five people including a government official, police and witnesses said.

Islamist militant group al Shabaab has waged a bombing campaign in Mogadishu ever since African Union troops drove the militants out of the capital in August 2011 but it was not immediately clear if the al Qaeda-aligned group was behind the latest blasts.

Ahmed Omar Mudane, deputy governor of the Lower Shabelle region, lost a leg and an arm when a bomb planted underneath his car detonated, senior police officer Colonel Ahmed Abdulle said.

A second car bomb exploded a few hours later outside the gate of the Oriental Hotel, wounding four people. Police said the second car was empty when the blast took place.

"We believe al Shabaab exploded the explosives in the car remotely," said Hussein Aden, a police officer at the scene of the second blast.

A Reuters witness saw two burnt out cars smoldering outside the hotel.

Last month three bombs exploded within an hour outside a hotel frequented by government officials in a heavily fortified district of the Somali capital, killing at least 11 people.

Somalia is rebuilding after more than two decades of civil war but Islamist rebels control swatches of the country outside Mogadishu and have frequently carried out attacks against government officials and foreign targets in the capital.

(Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Janet Lawrence)