MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) _ Two explosions rocked the Somali town of Baidoa on Monday, killing the president's brother and three others in an apparent assassination attempt, officials said.

President Abdullahi Yusuf escaped unharmed, government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari said.

Mohammed Abdiqadir, the head of the presidential guard, said Yusuf's brother was among the dead.

A car bomb exploded outside the parliament building where Yusuf had given a speech 10 minutes before, said Mohamed Adawe, a journalist who witnessed the explosion. The other blast happened nearby, he said.

Aside from those killed, six other people were injured, said Shino Moalim, a government official.

``This explosion was intended to kill the president but he escaped and he is safe,'' said Dinari. Baidoa, 150 miles northwest of Mogadishu, is the only town controlled by the country's virtually powerless government.

Eight cars were burned in the blasts, including three that were in the president's convoy, Adawe said.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on one another, pulling the country into anarchy.

The current government was established two years ago with the support of the United Nations, but it has failed to assert any power outside its base in Baidoa.

An Islamic militia seized control of Mogadishu in recent months and has extended its control over much of southern Somalia, in direct challenge to the government.

The militia has imposed strict religious rule in the areas under its sway, and its Islamic courts are credited with bringing a semblance of order. Many in the West, however, fear a Taliban-style regime could emerge.