Five dead in blast during Somalia Eid festivities: police

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MOGADISHU, May 24, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – At least five people were killed
and more than 20 injured Sunday in Somalia in a blast during
festivities to mark the Eid al-Fitr festival.

“The initial information we have received indicates the dead bodies
of five people were collected from the scene of the blast and more
than twenty others have been wounded,” police officer Mohamed Muktar
told AFP by phone from Baidoa, about 250 kilometres (150 miles) west
of the capital Mogadishu.

The cause of the explosion was unclear.

“The number of wounded people is over 20 including women and
children, so that death toll could increase because some of these
people are seriously wounded,” Muktar added.

Witness Mohamud Ibrahim said the crowd had been dancing and singing
when the blast occurred.

“I’m not an expert but I think there was a roadside bomb involved,
the blast was huge and it caused casualties more than a grenade may
cause,” he said, also speaking by phone.

Another witness, Abdi Hassan, said people had gathered at the spot
on both Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the Eid festivities, especially
dancing.

“How can someone shed the blood of innocent civilians when they
have been enjoying their Eid festival.

“These perpetrators whoever they are have turned their happiness
into sadness,” Hassan said.

The Muslim world is celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival which
marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, was driven out of Mogadishu in
2011 and lost most of its strongholds, but still controls vast swathes
of the countryside.

Its militants have vowed to overthrow the internationally-backed
government in Mogadishu and still carry out attacks including suicide
bombings against government and international targets.

In 2013 and 2016 the group launched deadly attacks on beachfront
restaurants in Mogadishu.