Mortar shells hit after Somalia celebrates reopened stadium

Mortar shells hit after Somalia celebrates reopened stadium

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – At least three mortar blasts caused sports fans in Somalia to flee Tuesday night, hours after the reopening of Mogadishu Stadium after years of instability.

The mortar shells hit in and around the stadium, said police colonel Ahmed Muse. It was not immediately possible to say anything about victims. The al-Qaida-linked extremist group Al-Shabab often focuses on the city.

The blasts happened after Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed attended the opening ceremony with a football match in the nearly empty stadium. He left before the grenades hit.

A live television broadcast captured the sound of one of the blasts when an interviewer bent down and rushed out of the camera.

The opening of the 35,000-seat stadium, complete with a large ceremonial flame, was a symbol of Somali reconstruction efforts after nearly three decades of conflict. The site had a base for the African Union’s peacekeeping force until late last year.

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