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Somalia khat market explosion leaves 5 dead, 10 injured.

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An explosion killed at least five people and wounded 10 on Wednesday in a market for the stimulant leaf khat in southern Somalia, police and residents said.

The blast, whose cause was not immediately clear, occurred in the busy market in the town of Wanlaweyn in the Lower Shabelle region, about 90 km (55 miles) to the northwest of the coastal capital Mogadishu.



Given Wanlaweyn’s lack of hospitals able to take in multiple casualties, residents said they took many of the wounded to their homes for the time being after the afternoon blast near a busy cluster of khat kiosks.

Police said they were investigating whether the explosion was caused by a planted bomb or by a suicide bomber.

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“The blast at the khat kiosks killed at least five civilians and injured more others including soldiers. We are investigating whether there are more casualties and the cause of the blast,” police Captain Farah Ismail told Reuters.

“The death toll may rise,” he added.

Residents said the kiosks were busy with soldiers buying khat. “I counted five dead people, including two shoe shiners, a mother who sold khat and two customers. There were 10 other injured civilians,” shopkeeper Ahmed Mohamud told Reuters.

“I could also see several soldiers in uniform being transported from the blast scene but I could not confirm whether they were dead or wounded.”

It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast. In past incidents, the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militant group has claimed responsibility. Al Shabaab is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s central government and establish its own rule based on its interpretation of Islamic law.

Since being pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011, the group has lost control of most of Somalia’s cities and towns. But it retains a strong presence in regions outside the capital.

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REUTERS

Motherland News

Families Identify Church Collapse Victims in Anguish

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Tears and anguish characterized the atmosphere as the grieving families of 13 worshipers killed in a church collapse arrived at the Richards Bay mortuary to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

The worshipers died when a wall collapsed at the Pentecostal Holiness Church near Empangeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal last Thursday night.

The KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department co-ordinated with various departments including health, home affairs and the police, to assist in speeding up the body identification process.

Six worshippers were from Ulundi, four from eSikhawini and three from Maqwakazi in uMlalazi.

Describing the collapse, Phumelele Simelane from eSikhawini said worshippers had just had their evening meal and were preparing to sleep when the wall caved in.

Simelane was with her 6-year-old son, who is recovering in hospital. She said she came to the mortuary to support congregants whose relatives died.

The Mthembu family, who lost grandmother Thembi Mthabela, 54, and Andiswa Mthembu, 10, in the tragedy were overcome with grief.

“Thembi loved going to church and she always took Andiswa with her. Andiswa was doing Grade 3 at Nyathini Primary School. As a family, we are very traumatised and it is hard for us,” said a relative, who did not wanted to be named.

Buhle Mzila, whose sister Samke, 33, died, said the family had lost a breadwinner.

Samke, who worked at the Ulundi Municipality, was with her 9-year-old daughter during the incident.

Buhle said her niece, who was in hospital, was in a state of shock about her mother’s death.

“Samke loved the church, she always made sure she attended every service. She played a big role in terms of assisting the family. We are still going to feel her absence,” said Buhle.

A sobbing Mbongeni Langa said his mother had died in a “place she loved”.

The memorial service will be held tomorrow

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Motherland News

CAF Sidelines Nigerian Centre Referees for 2019 AFCON

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Out of the Twenty-seven centre referees penciled down for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, countries like Burundi, Mali, Zambia and Sudan are represented on the list, but no Nigerian referee was selected for the big occasions.

However, only one assistant referee from Nigeria named Baba Adel was listed among the twenty-nine assistant referees selected by the African Football Governing Body.

The competition will be held from 21 June to 19 July 2019, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017.

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