Two journalists, 8 others dead in fresh Somalia suicide attack
A suicide car bomb detonated outside the Asasey Hotel on Friday, where community elders and lawmakers had been discussing an upcoming election, and was followed by shooting as gunmen stormed into the hotel, police said.
The al-Shabaab extremist Islamist group have claimed the responsibility for the attack on Friday evening.
“A blast occurred in Hotel Asasey in the heart of Kismayo, followed by gunfire. Local elders and lawmakers were having a meeting there. It is too early to know if there are any casualties,” Major Mohamed Abdi, a police officer, told Reuters news agency from Kismayo on Friday.
Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, said the group was behind the attack and that fighting was still going on.
“First we targeted [the hotel] with a suicide car bomb and then armed ‘mujahideen’ [guerrilla fighters] stormed the hotel. We are still fighting inside the hotel,” he said.
“There are many dead bodies inside the hotel, including a dead white man. We control the hotel now.” “We have confirmed the death of seven people including a former local administration minister and a lawmaker,” said Abdi Dhuhul, a security official. “The toll may increase since the attack is not over yet.
Hussein Nur, a shopkeeper in Kismayo, told Reuters: “There were many people including officials and elders, mostly from one clan, who were discussing the coming Kismayo election.”
Nur was referring to elections in the city due sometime in August.
Al-Shabab was ejected from Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been driven from most of its other strongholds. In 2012, it was driven out of Kismayo, whose port had been a major source of revenue for the group.
Outside of Kismayo, al-Shabab still controls parts of Jubbaland, a region in southern Somalia.
The armed group remains a major security threat, with its fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, whose troops form part of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force that helps defend the Somali government. Agency