02/12/06 (B372) BBC / The Islamist group which controls much of southern Somalia has rejected accusations that it was behind the car bomb on the government base, Baidoa. (Info lectrice)

of Islamic Courts (UIC) leader Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys has condemned the
attack, in which at least nine people died.

officials have accused the UIC of organising Thursday’s blast.

are fears of widespread conflict between the government and the UIC and their
regional allies.

The government
says they have arrested three more suspects following raids in houses and
hotels in Baidoa, after three people were arrested on Thursday.

A government
source says one of those arrested lost a leg in the explosion and another
is a woman.

have tightened security around the town and several cars from the Islamist-held
capital, Mogadishu, were not allowed to enter Baidoa.


policeman told the BBC that a female suicide bomber wearing a veil blew herself
up at a check-point on the outskirts of the only town under government control.

were flames everywhere," an eye-witness said.

The government
says it was a suicide bombing but there is no independent verification of

indications are that they were trying to bring the explosives into Baidoa
and their motive could be killing government officials, but we expect to get
a clearer picture from the interrogation," Information Minister Ali Jama
told the AFP news agency.

Some officials
have suggested that the attackers were foreign members of the al-Qaeda network.

But Mr
Aweys denied the charges.

is a baseless allegation. They have no evidence to say the Islamic courts
are behind this," he told the AP news agency.


President Abdullahi Yusuf survived a suicide car bomb attack in Baidoa two
months ago, which killed his brother.

He said
they were foreign members of al-Qaeda.

denies links to al-Qaeda but is opposed to the government and has threatened
to launch a holy war to drive Ethiopian troops out of the country.

admits it has hundreds of military trainers helping the government but denies
they are taking part in any conflict.

The Ethiopian
parliament on Thursday passed a resolution authorising the government to take
all necessary and legal steps against any invasion by UIC.

The resolution
said there was a clear and present danger to Ethiopia from the UIC.

rival Eritrea denies claims that it backs the UIC.