At least five people were killed and several wounded in a blast inside a crowded football stadium in Southern Somalia on Thursday evening. The blast went off in the port town of Barawe, in the lower Shabelle region when residents were watching a football match.
Police indicated that the al Qaeda-linked group al Shabaab could be behind the attack, further adding that the bomb could have been detonated by remote control.
“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.
Barawe once was a key al Shabab stronghold before Somali and African Union forces seized the town and drove out the extremists, who banned sports activities in areas under their control. Al Shabab still has a large presence in Lower Shabelle region and has carried out several attacks in the town.
The Horn of Africa nation continues to struggle to counter al-Shabab, which has been called the deadliest Islamic extremist group in sub-Saharan Africa. Concerns have been high over plans to hand over the country’s security to Somalia’s military as a 21,000-strong African Union force begins a withdrawal that is expected to be complete in 2020.