Al Shabaab has reportedly taken responsibility for a bomb attack targeting a football match in Barawe in southern Somalia where five people were killed and several others wounded.
Eyewitnesses said that the improvised explosive device was buried in the sandy stadium and was targeted at instilling fear in the youth who have found alternative ways of spending their leisure time other than joining the terror organization.
Barawe once was a key al-Shabab stronghold before Somali and African Union forces seized the town and drove out the extremists, who had banned sports activities in areas under their control. Al-Shabab still has a large presence in Lower Shabelle region and has carried out several attacks in the town.
The Horn of Africa nation continues to struggle to counter al-Shabab, which has been called the deadliest Islamic extremist group in sub-Saharan Africa. Concerns have been high over plans to hand over the country’s security to Somalia’s military as a 21,000-strong African Union force begins a withdrawal that is expected to be complete in 2020.