Suicide bomber hits national theater in Mogadishu | News | DW | 04.04.2012
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Suicide bomber hits national theater in Mogadishu

A Somali woman has blown herself up during a speech by the prime minister at the country's recently reopened national theater, killing several people. Two of the country's top sporting figures were killed in the blast.

A suicide bomber struck at a ceremony in the Somali national theater on Wednesday, killing the country's Olympic and soccer bosses, as well as several others. Initial reports put the death toll between six and 10.

The attacker, who witnesses said was a young woman, hit a ceremony at the theater marking the one-year anniversary of the foundation of the country's satellite TV network. Roughly 200 people were in attendance.

Several witness accounts suggested the blast coincided with a speech by Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, though he was apparently unharmed.

Witnesses and later the International Olympic Committee said, however, that the Somali Olympic Committee president and the head of the country's soccer body were both killed in the blast.

IOC condemns 'barbarism'

"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 the Somali Football Federation chief Said Mohamed Nur today in Mogadishu," IOC President Jacques Rogge said in a statement.

Rogge said that the two men had been "engaged in improving the lives of Somalian people through sport and we strongly condemn such an act of barbarism."

The theater was reopened last month after two decades of closure.

Al-Shabab militants were largely pushed out of Mogadishu last year by African Union troops, bringing relative peace to the city, though attacks continue. Another suicide bomber struck at the presidential palace on March 14, with Al-Shaab pledging further attacks at the time. The presidential palace has also come under mortar fire several times in the last two weeks.

msh/pfd (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)