A bomb exploded during a local soccer (football) game in southern Somalia’s restive Lower-Shabelle province on Thursday, killing at least four people, security officials said. “An improvised explosive device went off during the semifinal of a local soccer team’s cup” in Barawe town, Bashir Mohamed Yusuf, the town’s deputy commissioner for security, told VOA.
Yusuf and hospital sources said at least 13 people were also wounded in Barawe, which is about 220 kilometers southwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. “The bomb was planted in the VIP section of the soccer stadium with the intention of harming the local authorities,” said Yusuf. “But since we tactically sat at a different location today, it hit some of the football players and spectators.”
A spectator who was at the soccer field at the time and asked to remain anonymous said the bomb exploded at the start of the second half of the game between locally popular teams Elmen and SYL, and “it seems it was detonated remotely from the nearby areas.” Barawe is a strategic port town and major base for African Union troops in the region. It is remembered for being a key stronghold of Al-Shabaab Islamists, but the Somali National Army captured it in 2014 with the backing of African Union forces.