By Mohamed Ahmed
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A suicide bomber attacked a government compound in Mogadishu on Wednesday, killing four government soldiers and narrowly missing the army chief.
"I am alive. It was a suicide bomber. You can see his body parts," General Abdikarim Yusuf Dhagabadan told reporters at the site of the attack, Villa Baidoa. "Four of our soldiers died and 12 were wounded."
The compound attacked on Wednesday is sometimes used by the country's president, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.
"The suicide bomber took advantage when guards were changing shifts at the main gate," the army chief said.
A wave of roadside bombings have hit Mogadishu this week, killing at least seven people, in incidents that police and residents have blamed on the al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab militants, who are seeking to topple the government.
Government forces have struggled to secure Mogadishu against attacks by the rebels who withdrew from most of their bases in the capital in August but vowed to launch large-scale attacks against government targets.
Somali government troops, along with Kenyan and Ethiopian forces, are also battling the Islamist militants in the rebel-controlled southern and central parts of the country.
(Additional reporting by Omar Faruq in Mogadishu and Sahra Abdi in Nairobi; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Myra MacDonald)