A bomb which went off in the port town of Barawe in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, when residents were watching a football match on Thursday afternoon, reportedly killed 5. This is the first time an explosion has targeted a stadium.
Though the Somalian Police thinks that al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab could be behind the attack, it further stated that it appeared to have been detonated by remote control.
“The bomb killed five people and injured a dozen others in the football field. All the casualties were from the onlookers,” Mahad Dhoore, a lawmaker for South West state told Reuters.
Police officer Mohamed Aden said al Shabaab group was suspected of being behind the attack, and put the number of dead at four and wounded at 12.
“We believe al Shabaab was behind (it) and that the target was officials who were not seated there at the time of the match. The bomb looked like a remotely controlled one that was planted there,” Aden told Reuters from Barawe.
The extremist group often targets high-profile areas of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, and it was blamed for the October truck bombing there that killed 512 people in the country’s deadliest-ever attack. Only a few attacks worldwide since 9/11 have killed more people.
A month before the October bombing Mogadishu celebrated its first nighttime football match in decades, with many residents calling it a step forward in a fragile recovery from decades of violent chaos. And late last year the country’s football federation announced its intention to start hosting international matches this year, citing what it called an improving security situation.
“Al Shabaab carried out an explosion that killed teenagers who were just playing football in Barawe town. Al Shabaab is the only enemy we have,” President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said during a farewell party for Somalia’s outgoing parliament speaker.