MOGADISHU, Somalia – A suicide blast during a ceremony at Somalia’s newly reopened national theater on Wednesday killed at least 10 people, including two of the country’s top sports officials, officials said.
Ali Muse, the head of Mogadishu’s ambulance service, said at least 10 people were killed and dozens wounded.
The dead included the president of Somalia’s Olympic committee and the president of its soccer federation, according to Shafici Mohyadin, the federation’s secretary.
A survivor of the blast said he feared few inside the theater escaped death or injury. The witness, Zakariye Osman, said he counted at least eight dead bodies. Osman’s clothes were covered in blood as he spoke outside the theater.
Policeman Abdimalik Hassan said government officials and other dignitaries attended the ceremony. Muse said the wounded included the country’s national planning minister.
The national theater reopened for the first time in 20 years on March 19 with a concert featuring musicians playing guitars and drums. Wednesday’s ceremony was held to mark the first anniversary of the start of a national TV station.
Al-Shabab militants were largely pushed out of Mogadishu last year by African Union troops, and a period of relative peace has descended on Mogadishu, allowing sports leagues, restaurants and even a little night life to flourish.
Despite those advances, al-Shabab has continued to carry out suicide and roadside bomb attacks, sometimes with devastating effect. Last October militants detonated a truck loaded with fuel drums at a government ministry gate, killing more than 100 people.