By Andrew Warshaw

mogadishu suicide_bomb_04-04-12April 4 - The heads of Somalia's Olympic Committee and football federation were among at least seven people killed today in a suicide bomb blast in the capital Mogadishu.

The President of the Somali Olympic Committee, Aden Yabarow Wiish, and Somali Football Federation (SFF) chief Said Mohamed Nur were among a group of dignitaries who had gathered in Somalia's national theatre (pictured below) to mark the first anniversary of the launch of the country's national television station.

Somalia is one of the most lawless places on the planet and militants from the al-Shabaab group immediately claimed responsibility.

The theatre closed in the early 1990s as Somalia descended into civil war and was only reopened last month after a lull in the fighting as the city returned slowly to normal life.

A statement released on behalf of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge by the IOC's director of communications, Mark Adams, said: "Both men were engaged in improving the lives of Somalian people through sport and we strongly condemn such an act of barbarism.

"Our thoughts are with the Somalian sporting community who lost two great leaders and with the families of the victims."

Mogadishu National_Theatre_04-04-12
Meanwhile, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he was "shocked" at the deadly attack, carried out by a single woman who blew herself up.

"I knew both men personally and can only say good things about their endless efforts to promote sport and football in their country," Blatter said in a statement.

"They will be sorely missed.

"At this very sad time, my thoughts and those of FIFA and the worldwide football community are with the families and loved ones of all the victims of this attack, and especially to the football and sport family of Somalia."

Somalia's Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (pictured) was on a podium addressing 200 people when the explosion occurred.

Abdiweli Mohamed_Ali_04-04-12
He and several other Government Ministers were unhurt.

Only last week, Wiish and Nur had inspected the newly-built national stadium in Mogadishu.

"When this construction completes and the security has fully been tightened we will be able to host international matches here in Mogadishu," Nur said at the time.

Some reports said the stadium was previously used by Shebab rebels as a training centre, others that it was seized by Western-backed African Union troops and used as a base before turning it over to the Government for restoration as a sports venue.

Confederation of African Football (CAF) boss Issa Hayatou described the blast as "another black day for African football".

"Somali football lost a great leader with grassroots vision who was actively committed to football development despite very challenging conditions," he said.

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