It has just broken that members of Somalia’s Olympic committee and some members of the nation’s soccer association were hurt or even killed in a suspected bomb blast in the city of Mogadishu. Reports vary, but it is claimed that there have been at least seven deaths, with some reports claiming more than ten have succumbed to their injuries.
Dignitaries and officials had gathered in the city in order to commemorate the first anniversary of their national television network. However the newly re-opened theater was attacked this morning. Among the confirmed dead are the presidents of both the Olympic and soccer governing bodies.
Extremist group Al-Shabaab have taken responsibility for the alleged suicide bomb attack. A spokesperson for the group informed Reuters that it was their intention to harm the officials and government associates.
Although there have been continued reports of devastating incidents outside of the city Al-Shabaab forces were said to have been pushed out of Mogadishu last year by African Union forces. However, this latest attack shows that militants have been planning action whilst the city had been attempting to regenerate.
The re-opened national theater, previously closed for some twenty years, may well be seen as a symbol of such regeneration and this incident will certainly shock a city trying to build towards peace.
It remains to be seen what the official numbers will be for those wounded, but reports are coming in by the minute about international journalists and television workers being caught up in the chaos alongside the Somali dignitaries. The local police have released some information, stating that at least one government minister has passed away, but it is a case of allowing them to continue to recover the site.
More will follow on this horrific episode.