A prominent member of Ottawa's Somali community has been badly wounded in a suicide bombing in Somalia today that killed two members of parliament.

Friends of Ahmed Abdisalam Adan say he was on a peacekeeping mission with several MPs to the town of Dhusomareb in central Somalia when they were approached at a cafe by a suicide bomber.

Two MPs died in the blast, and parliamentarian Dahir Amin Jesow said at least six lawmakers and military officials were among the wounded, some seriously, in the attack in Dhusomareb, some 640 kilometres north of Mogadishu.

Adan's colleagues in Ottawa said their friend was seriously injured, but they are awaiting updates on his condition.

Adan was an Ottawa resident for years and worked in social services for the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton.

In 1999 he started an independent broadcaster in his home country and eventually moving back full-time, serving as deputy prime minister and minister of public security.

Somali militants in retreat

The last year had seen the Somali government make progress against the al-Shabaab militia, a group that has adopted many of the hardline doctrines of the Afghan Taliban.

Al-Shabaab over the last year has faced increasing military pressure from African Union troops in the capital, as well as Ethiopian troops in the west and Kenyan troops in the south.

The success against al-Shabab has allowed the Mogadishu-based central government to start reaching out to regions outside of Mogadishu.

Ahmed Hussen of the Canadian Somali Congress said Adan was heavily involved in that effort, and that's why he became a target.

"He, I think, presented a particular threat to them because he was working on reconciliation, and helping establish order and government institutions in areas where Shabaab had fled," said Hussen.

Three civilians were also killed in a separate attack Tuesday after a bomb concealed in a civilian car went off in the capital, Mogadishu, according to police officer Yasin Hassan.

With files from the Associated Press