Somalia Theatre Bombing Kills Top Sports Officials
The head of Somalia’s Olympic committee and its football chief are among eight people killed in a bomb attack on a high-profile event in Mogadishu.
Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali survived the blast unhurt after it struck the newly re-opened national theatre in the capital, Mogadishu.
Militants from the al-Shabab group say they carried out the bombing.
African Union peacekeepers said the “despicable” attack would not deter peace efforts in Somalia.
The President of the Somali Olympic Committee, Aden Yabarow Wiish, and the Somali Football Federation chief, Said Mohamed Nur, were both killed. They were among a group of dignitaries who had gathered to mark the first anniversary of the launch of Somalia’s national television station.
Sepp Blatter, president of football’s governing body Fifa, said he was shocked at the deaths of the sport officials.
“I knew both men personally and can only say good things about their endless efforts to promote sport and football in their country,” he said in a statement. “They will be sorely missed.”
Three Somali television journalists were also wounded in the blast, sources told the BBC Somali Service.
The theatre had closed in the early 1990s as Somalia descended into civil war and was only reopened last month, amid a new period of relative optimism.
Police and hospital sources told BBC News in Mogadishu that eight people had been killed.
Also speaking to the BBC, the prime minister said a woman suicide attacker had carried out the attack.
Condemning al-Shabab, he said it was in the group’s nature to “kill innocent people” and described the attacks as “the last breaths of a dying horse”.