Security forces have foiled an attempt by al-Shabab fighters to launch a suicide attack on a political conference in a central Somali town, killing three gunmen and the driver of a car packed with explosives, police said.

"A suicide car bomb rammed into the gate of the hall and three armed men stormed in but, fortunately, AMISOM troops killed them before they could enter," Major Nur Ahmed, a police officer, told the Reuters news agency, referring to the African Union force AMISOM which was guarding the conference hall in Adado.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility, saying its gunmen were fighting inside.

A local leader said there was a brief fight but the attackers were killed before entering.

Source: Reuters