Somalia: Bomb blast at concert in newly opened national theatre

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Somalia:
Bomb blast at concert in newly opened national theatre


“The blast happened as musicians were singing and spectators were clapping for them. Huge smoke made the whole scene go dark. People screamed and soldiers suddenly started opening fire at the gate. Some wounded people escaped and ran away,” Salah Jimale told The Guardian.

This was reported by British newspaper The Guardian’s correspondent Clar Ni Chonghaile from Nairobi.

The blast at the National Theatre dealt a body blow to this nascent sense of optimism that had been heightened by the start of weekly direct flights by Turkish Airlines, repairs to the roads, new streetlights and the reopening of schools and markets. “Unfortunately what happened is a clear message for the government that al-Shabaab can still make explosions in Mogadishu,” said Safiya Sheikh Ali, a 21-year-old student who attended the event.

Clar Ni Chonghaile talked to Shine Ali, a singer with Kenya-based Somali hip-hop group Waayaha Cusub, who also were part of a Music Freedom Day video production about the situation for musicians in Somalia. He had been to Mogadishu for 10 days in March 2012 to see what conditions were like.

“I think it is so sad,” he said of the bombing. “Al-Shabaab doesn’t want music or artists because they build awareness.”

The singer, who was shot three years ago by al-Shabaab sympathisers for urging Somalis to reject the rebels, said he did not feel safe in Mogadishu.

“The people want to see peace but al-Shabaab don’t want peace. Today, you could be safe but tomorrow there will be problems.”



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The Guardian – 4 April 2012:

‘Somalia theatre suicide bombing kills top sports officials’

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