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Somali Restaurant Bombed for Third Time in 3 Years

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At least four civilians were killed and three others were injured when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest early Friday evening inside a small restaurant in the Somali town of Baidoa.

Witnesses told VOA Somali that a man wearing a vest arrived on a bicycle and entered Barwaqo restaurant, then detonated his vest. All four victims died at the scene, while three other people were taken to the hospital.

Mukhtar Mohamed Atosh, a reporter for VOA in Baidoa, said there were several other people who were wounded but able to walk away from the restaurant.

Among the dead is a local humanitarian worker, according to a relative who did not want to be named.

This is the third time explosions have targeted the same restaurant in the last three years. The first attack was Dec. 5, 2014, when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb, killing seven people including two local journalists.

The second attack occurred Feb. 29, 2016, when twin bombings — a car bomb and a bomb planted at the scene — went off simultaneously, killing 30 people.

Military strike

On Thursday, the U.S. military says it conducted a “precision strike” that killed an al-Shabab militant near the town of Barawe.

Somali officials say there were two people in the car that was hit in the strike late Thursday. The statement from AFRICOM says one “terrorist” was killed.

The mayor of Barawe, Aden Omar Madobe, told VOA Somali it’s not clear who was targeted.

This is the third U.S. airstrike in seven days targeting al-Shabab militants.

On September 1, a U.S. strike killed Abdirahman Hudeyfi, former al-Shabab governor of the Jubba regions, while he was en route to a market to buy a sheep to slaughter for Eid al-Adha celebrations, according to Somali officials.

On September 5, the U.S. conducted another strike near the village of Dodale in the Bay region, on an unspecified target.

Soccer match

Despite the violence, Mogadishu celebrated its first nighttime soccer match in more than 30 years late Friday.

The packed stadium was hosting youth teams from Waberi and Hodan, two areas of the capital where al-Shabab explosions often occur.

Musicians entertained the crowd before the kickoff. Somali soccer officials hailed the milestone as a sign of Somalia’s determination to move ahead, despite al-Shabab attacks.

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