04 April 2012

Hopes for Return to Normalcy Dashed in Somalia

A suicide bombing at a theater has claimed the lives of several sports officials.

At least 10 people, including the presidents of Somalia's Olympic Committee and Football Federation, were killed yesterday when an explosion ripped through Mogadishu's re-opened National Theatre, puncturing fragile hopes that life was returning to normal in the seaside city after the withdrawal of Islamist rebels.

African Union peacekeepers said a female suicide bomber caused the blast, but al-Shabaab, which claimed responsibility, said on its Twitter feed that its militants had planted the explosives beforehand.

The attack came two weeks after singers in bright yellow scarves performed at the opening ceremony of the theatre, an event hailed by the government as a sign that life was improving in a city that has known little but war for over two decades.

Government officials, including Somalia's prime minister, members of parliament and journalists were among those caught in the blast which targeted an event to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of a national television station.

"The blast happened as musicians were singing and spectators were clapping for them," said Salah Jimale. "Huge smoke made the whole scene go dark. People screamed and soldiers suddenly started opening fire at the gate. Some wounded people escaped and ran away."

Those killed included Somali Olympic Committee chairman, Aden Yabarow Wiish, and the president of the Somali Football Federation, Said Mohamed Nur. The deputy of the Olympic committee and the chairman for Somali boxing were both injured.

Hooray for Islam, the Religion of Peace, for killing officials trying to restart the country's international sports programs.

By: Brant

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