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MOGADISHU, May 25 — At least five people were killed and more than 20 injured yesterday 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 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. — AFP
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