Mogadishu blast kills seven, including sports chiefs
Apr 4, 2012, 12:56 GMT
Mogadishu - Seven people died in a suicide bombing in Mogadishu Wednesday, including the head of the Somali football federation and the national Olympic Committee's president, according to witnesses.
One witness told dpa a female bomber set off her bomb at an event marking the first anniversary of Somalia's National TV broadcaster at Mogadishu's historic National Theatre. Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali was in attendance, but was uninjured by the blast.
'At least seven people, including the chairman of Somalia's football federation, Said Mohamed Nur, are dead, and other sports officials and journalists were injured,' local sports journalist Ayid Abdirahman, who was at the event, told dpa.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) condemned the attacks, saying that the president of the Somali Olympic Committee was also killed.
'The IOC is shocked to hear of the terrorist attack that took the lives of the president of the Somali Olympic Committee, Aden Yabarow Wiish, and Somali Football Federation chief Said Mohamed Nur today in Mogadishu,' IOC President Jacques Rogge said in a statement.
Senior government officials contacted refused to give details, saying they would release a statement shortly.
However, the deputy chief of the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said no government ministers were injured and condemned the attack, which was claimed by insurgent group al-Shabaab.
'Yet again the terrorists' methods show that they are enemies of peace and are foreign to Somali culture,' AMISOM Brigadier General Audace Nduwumunsi said. 'By their attack they are trying to derail the hopes and dreams of the Somali people, but they will fail.'
The reopening of the theatre last month, after 20 years of closure because of the civil war, was heralded as a sign of stability returning to Mogadishu.
Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab has been battling to oust the internationally backed government since early 2007, but has been losing ground in recent months under pressure from AU, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces - all backing pro-government troops.
The Islamist group saw itself pushed out of Mogadishu in August last year, and has since stepped up its campaign of bombings and assassinations.
The AU's Nduwumunsi said that 70 per cent of attempted suicide attacks had been foiled due to intelligence from the local community.
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