Bomb blast in Somali nat'l theater kills many

ABDI GULED Associated Press Published:

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- A suicide bomber walked into Somalia's newly reopened national theater during a ceremony Wednesday and detonated his explosives. A survivor who witnessed the blast said he feared many people were killed.

The witness, Zakariye Osman, said he counted at least eight dead bodies, but that he feared there were many more. Osman's clothes were covered in blood as he spoke outside the theater.

Policeman Abdimalik Hassan said government officials and other dignitaries attended the ceremony.

Ali Muse, the head of the city's ambulance service, said a casualty toll wasn't immediately known.

The national theater reopened for the first time in 20 years on March 19 with a concert featuring musicians playing guitars and drums. Wednesday's ceremony was held to mark the first anniversary of the start of a national TV station.

Al-Shabab militants were largely pushed out of Mogadishu last year by African Union troops, and a period of relative peace has descended on Mogadishu, allowing sports leagues, restaurants and even a little night life to flourish.

Despite those advances, al-Shabab has continued to carry out suicide and roadside bomb attacks, sometimes with devastating effect. Last October militants detonated a truck loaded with fuel drums at a government ministry gate, killing more than 100 people.

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