Somali village in shock after al-Shabaab opens fire on wedding party
Residents of Bo'o say a dark cloud has descended upon their small village ever since three suspected al-Shabaab gunmen opened fire on women leaving a wedding party there last week. The party was a traditional celebration to mark seven days of marriage and was attended only by women.
Al-Shabaab has imposed strict rules on wedding ceremonies that includes banning brides from wearing the traditional Somali wedding dress.
"It was a joyful day for the relatives and friends of the couple, as it should be when there is a wedding, and there had been no problems [with al-Shabaab until the attack]," said Ugas Hirey, a 35-year-old Bo'o resident. "We cannot figure out what changed; we were shocked by the gunshots and its ugly aftermath."
The al-Shabaab controlled village is located about 30 kilometres from Hiran's regional capital of Beledweyne, which was liberated by allied forces in December 2011 and has since rebuffed several attempts by the group to reclaim the city.
According to tribal elder Jama Ahmed the gunmen are believed to be between the ages of 16 and 19. He said they waited for the celebration to end and shot the women as they were leaving the venue, killing the groom's aunt and wounding two other women.
The wounded victims were immediately rushed to Beledweyne Hospital for treatment.
One of the victims lost a lot of blood and was in critical condition when she arrived at the hospital, Beledweyne Hospital director Ahmed Khalif told Sabahi. Both women are now in stable condition and receiving the necessary treatment.
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