Somali village in shock after al-Shabaab opens fire on wedding party

By Ali Adam in Mogadishu

January 10, 2013

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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.

  • Al-Shabaab has imposed strict rules on wedding ceremonies that includes banning brides from wearing the traditional Somali wedding dress. [Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP]

    Al-Shabaab has imposed strict rules on wedding ceremonies that includes banning brides from wearing the traditional Somali wedding dress. [Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP]

The party was a traditional celebration to mark seven days of marriage and was attended only by women.

"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.

Residents abided by all of al-Shabaab's rules

Residents told Sabahi they were afraid for their safety and do not understand why al-Shabaab targeted the wedding party since it was held according to the militant's rules. Many declined to speak on the record for fear of retaliation from the militant group.

Under al-Shabaab rules, brides are forbidden from wearing the traditional Somali garment, a white, one-shoulder dress wrapped in a red and brown shawl. Instead, women must wear a long dark skirt made of thick material and a tunic that covers from their head to below the waist. In addition, men and women must be segregated, all music is banned, and the wedding procession cannot comprise more than three vehicles.

The tribal elder said no one broke any of the stated rules, and that the attack was completely unwarranted.

Ahmed said local residents are aware of the strict rules al-Shabaab has imposed on citizens regarding gatherings and celebrations, and everyone has been careful to abide by them since militants took control of the area more than three years ago.

The guests recited traditional chants called "buraanbur" to celebrate the bride, groom and respective families. The chant did not include anything forbidden by al-Shabaab, he said.

"The Bo'o incident has marked the people who live in Hiran region and has left them astounded because al-Shabaab turned what was to be a day of celebration to a day of sorrow," Ahmed said. "It shows al-Shabaab has no compassion for those who live under their rule."

Tribal elders traditionally attempt to resolve altercations among citizens including violent events such as this one. However, Ahmed said it is useless to get involved in this case because al-Shabaab fighters do not respect elders' role and would not be receptive if they were to approach them.

"We cannot hold them accountable for their wrongdoings because we are afraid to cause more damage," he said.

This is not the first time al-Shabaab militants have targeted wedding parties. Most recently, a wedding party was attacked in December in Qurod village near El Bur, killing four people and injuring nine, according to Somalia's Hiiraan Online.

Al-Shabaab has not yet commented on the Bo'o wedding attack.

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Reader's Comments

  • s
    January 1, 2014 @ 12:43:37AM

    It is good to go far from sinful acts and fear GOD.

  • سميرا
    March 1, 2013 @ 03:24:33AM

    I ask you by God, is this Islam?!!! I swear they are not Muslims or Christians but they are animal-like humans. I seek God’s forgiveness. If you asked any one of them to mention the first three names of the title of the Prophet, peace be upon him, he will not know and let this be a challenge.

  • vin otumwa
    February 27, 2013 @ 06:51:30AM

    It is not good for rebels to have such a bad law. It must be known that what is said now is being fulfilled.

  • Michori Silvester
    February 26, 2013 @ 03:19:56AM

    This is good news to those of us who love Swahili and those learning this language. Continue with the same spirit and God bless you for educating us here in East Africa and the rest of the work.

  • eric macharia
    February 25, 2013 @ 09:21:01AM

    vicious killings like the one stated above, is exactly why the whole african community needs to join effort and rid Somalia of this insurgents.They paint a very horrid picture of Somalia and their using religion as the motivating factor behind their brutality is absurd.Islam is a peaceful religion and such bandits as al-shabaab should be dealt with in the same way a jigger is dug from the foot and maybe their pacification will bring about stability to the Horn of Africa.

  • wilson wanga
    February 24, 2013 @ 01:36:57PM

    condolences to the affected, but it is clear that scripture is being fulfilled

  • cabdi
    February 24, 2013 @ 03:38:46AM

    Al-Shabaab are Jews. They are disbelievers holding misguided ideologies. They are defectors.

  • cadbi
    February 24, 2013 @ 03:34:25AM

    Al-Shabaab are defectors and they were said by the prophet. They have been in existence since the reign of the companion of the prophet and they hold misguided ideology.

  • Abuu Omary Rumambo
    February 23, 2013 @ 03:19:07PM

    Those who committed murder are not Al-Shabaab, that is just wanting to sully the religion of Islam. It is possible that it is just a ploy. The wise always say. "If you want to kill a dog first give him a bad name and thus justify the killing." We have already discovered those monkey tricks!

  • bawaaqo
    February 20, 2013 @ 11:12:47AM

    What are the problems they face in fleeing?

  • ka qaybqaate
    February 16, 2013 @ 11:19:17PM

    May God help them.

  • daahir silanyo
    February 16, 2013 @ 07:56:59AM

    Al-Shabaab will be punished for the barbaric act they did. The cursed Al-Shabaab is ruthless even on women who anyone is expected to have mercy on them.

    February 16, 2013 @ 04:02:47AM


  • Rampart
    February 15, 2013 @ 07:23:06PM

    Peace be upon you! Are you sure that the ones killing people carelessly in Somalia and elsewhere are Al-Shabaab or Al-Qaeda? Because both groups are associated with the killing of innocent people. Let it not be that there are others using them without their knowledge! What I know is that if women hold their own celebration and it is a celebration that is not displeasing to Allah (the consumption of alcohol and other transgressions) then they have every right to celebrate. How is it then that they are killed? I am concerned that those are not Al-Shabaab and they are not even Muslims. There is nowhere in the Quran where it is allowed to kill someone without any right!

  • abdul
    February 15, 2013 @ 03:15:46PM

    stop your fabrications you puppets of america. you infidels we are tired of your stupid news let them kill you you think if you say that we will support you. big hypocrites

  • yasin ahmed dahir
    February 15, 2013 @ 12:48:36PM

    Yes. I agree with them.

  • mfuasi wa al-shabaab
    February 11, 2013 @ 02:29:33PM

    they are doing a good job according to the law established by Al-Shabaab members

    February 6, 2013 @ 05:43:38PM

    This newsletter is good because it gives us fresh information regarding events in Africa and the World in general

  • said
    February 6, 2013 @ 12:12:00AM

    Those of you who are not Muslims should not spread bad news about Islam. Leave it to the Muslims. They are there to clearly state the truth for everyone to understand. Doing more than that is dangerous as you incite a breach of peace. With respect and honor, I welcome you to Islam. I am telling you Islam is not the religion of Satan, supernatural beings or a bad religion as many of you are told or heard. Try and see it for yourself.

  • A. U. MASOUD
    February 5, 2013 @ 11:20:41PM

    We thank you for keeping us updated. We clearly know how much your medium is used to send false information and formulated events to show bad image about Islam in the world. We are not surprised with Al-Shabaab more than we are surprised with any other bad news against Islam in this medium of yours.

  • jamz.
    February 5, 2013 @ 10:15:19AM

    The act is inhuman may Allah 4give dhem 4 they don know what they r doin.

  • harry
    February 5, 2013 @ 09:39:02AM

    This millitant group has become useless and all the efforts should be made to eradicate them

  • godfrey mnjeja[tanzania]
    February 4, 2013 @ 09:23:04PM

    Nobody is ever forced to go anywhere nor is religion chosen for anyone. God will forever judge those animal humans. God save Somalia and her people amen

  • xaashi
    February 1, 2013 @ 01:13:12PM

    Somalia fears Al-Shabaab forces and there is fear in Mogadishu because the murderers were yet eliminated. Those people living in fear of Al-Shabaab and there is still some feelings of insecurity.

  • 0713091412
    February 1, 2013 @ 09:46:21AM

    I think dix iz due islamic culture,religion n ideological differece

  • jane laizer
    January 31, 2013 @ 03:26:47PM

    God never needs to be defended he defends himself. Now those who are using the sword to force people dah!!! They are making us ask ourselves questions for which nobody can get answers.

  • Concerned Muslim
    January 31, 2013 @ 08:55:37AM

    What they did is un Islamic and I hope they burn in suffer in this world and burn in Hell. Allah can never be so cruel as is being protrayed by these Fanatics.

  • [email protected]
    January 30, 2013 @ 06:25:51PM

    joe mine just to say that act was inhuman and may jah forgive them.

  • david richard olotu
    January 30, 2013 @ 11:57:29AM

    put in more effort in looking for news so that people understand how the world is going

  • Happy kingazi
    January 27, 2013 @ 05:27:09AM

    Even if it is forcing Somalis to follow the principles of the Islamic religion it shouldn't be like that by shedding innocent people's blood, if you are a murderer even if you pray until you have a mark on your face god will still refuse your prayer because you are going against his will.

  • benjamin byemero
    January 25, 2013 @ 01:56:31PM

    I request the United Nations to intervene in the problem of Somalia

  • hassan rajabu
    January 25, 2013 @ 10:36:21AM

    if it is true then it is god who knows everything but if it is false then it is also god who knows even more. May god save us all, but there are serious doubts with information like that because if you communicate through facebook and friends are saying something entirely different about that may god save you from that for perpetuating those things

  • Prisca
    January 22, 2013 @ 11:55:12AM

    The situation is frightening in Somalia, it should get to a point where we who support religion think what if that was being done to us (personally) what would the situation be like? We really need to change the way we think!! How can you be happy about the killing of human beings like you? Is there any religion that allows such things? May God have mercy on Somalis who are perishing even though they are innocent

  • muslim
    January 22, 2013 @ 04:35:36AM

    It appears that your newspaper is of hypocrites

  • C/raxmaan
    January 20, 2013 @ 02:04:52AM

    May God protect the people, country and the religion from Al-Shabaab because they are people hiding under the blanket of religion.

  • mwamba
    January 19, 2013 @ 02:52:34AM

    i belive that, one day the somali people will get peace like any other state in the all worlds where they can enjoy themself like any other humakind on earth. through the good job which was sarted by the armysom while being surpoted by their countrys, let the al-shabaab who are remaining in somalia land knows that their days are numberd. sorry; for those familys and their friends who were affected.

  • Amiin Mohammed
    January 18, 2013 @ 05:22:52PM

    What Al-Shabaab are doing is good by obeying the law of God which he brought down through the religion of Islam which is a guide found in the Quran and the Hadith of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Insha’Allah God will continue to give them power so that Islam reigns over Somalia and throughout the world and God will exterminate those who don’t like Islam. AMEN.

    January 18, 2013 @ 06:34:52AM


  • Alex Agaji.
    January 15, 2013 @ 07:36:35AM

    what kind of religion of peace are we seeing. Is stupid foolish human that follows this inhuman religion. And the people are still folowing their diety.

  • abuu qudamq
    January 12, 2013 @ 04:55:59PM

    I do not see any problem if those militia follow the law that is the Quran and Hadith because that is the guide for all Muslims

  • Mwambungu
    January 11, 2013 @ 03:24:43AM

    That was the problem of being under dictatorial rule like that of Al-Shabaab. These problems can on one side be caused by religious extremism especially Islam. Truly, those who have done the attacks are not Muslims because Islam does not support the killing of citizens who have done nothing.

  • Simon
    January 11, 2013 @ 02:50:40AM

    Thus says the Lord God "This is the day of which I have spoken. No one shall strengthen himself who lives in his iniquity. The soul that sins shall die." These evil al-shabaab men shall die gruesome deaths, their guns shall explode in their arms and their bombs in their arms and they shall be driven mad by their evil thoughts. Thus says the Lord God "I will pour even into their bosoms and into the bosoms of their children their thoughts and their evil deeds and they shall be left neither root nor branch."

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