Published: Sat, July 13, 2019

At least 7 killed in bomb, gun attack on Somalia hotel

At least 7 killed in bomb, gun attack on Somalia hotel

The militant group emerged from Islamic Courts that once controlled central and southern Somalia and are variously estimated to number between 5,000 and 9,000 men.

Members of the al-Qaeda linked group stormed the hotel after targeting it with a auto bomb on Friday while local elders and lawmakers were meeting to discuss approaching regional elections. "The death toll is sure to rise", local elder Ahmed Abdulle told Reuters.

"The militants drove into the hotel and made way into the building after detonating bombs".

"First we targeted [the hotel] with a suicide automobile bomb after which armed Mujahideen stormed the hotel".

A prominent journalist Hodan Nalayeh is among those reportedly killed.

"A blast took place in Hotel Asasey within the center of Kismayo, followed by gunfire". Local elders and lawmakers were having a meeting there.

Reuters quoted an al-Shabab spokesman, Abdiasis Abu Musab, as saying, "It was a suicide attack", and that the fighting was continuing.

According to several sources, most of those staying in the hotel were politicians and traders ahead of upcoming regional elections.

Hussein Nur, a shopkeeper in Kismayu, told Reuters: "There were many people including officials and elders, mostly from one clan, who were discussing the coming Kismayu election".

Witnesses said among those killed was a well-known social media activist, her husband and a local journalist.

Nur was referring to elections in the city due sometime in August.

Ms. Nalayeh's husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, was also killed in the attack, said Hassan Gesey, director of Mogadishu-based Radio Dalsan in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Somali Journalists Syndicate said in a statement that Hodan Nalayeh died along with another journalist, Mohamed Omar Sahal.

Al-Shabaab became as soon as ejected from Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been driven from most of its other strongholds.

It was driven out of Kismayo in 2012.

He adds that "Several gunmen entered and started shooting but the security forces responded quickly and engaged in a gunfight with the terrorists inside the building".

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