Wednesday, 17 July, 2019

At least 10 killed in bomb, gun attack on Somalia hotel

At least 10 killed in bomb, gun attack on Somalia hotel Huge Explosion and Gunfire Heard in Hotel in Somalia’s Port City of Kismayu – Police (Photos)
Patty Aguilar | 13 July, 2019, 08:29

Militants stormed a hotel Friday evening in the coastal Somali city of Kismayo, sparking gunbattles and fears of heavy casualties.

The Islamist militant crew al-Shabaab, which is linked to al-Qaeda and is attempting to plunge Somalia's central authorities, mentioned it had conducted a suicide attack.

The group said "Mujahidin fighters carried out a martyrdom attack on one of the hotels accommodating the apostate officials of the Jubaland administration".

"The relatives of a local journalist Mohamed Sahal confirmed his death and I'm getting that social media activist Hodan Naleye and her husband also died in the blast", another witness, Ahmed Farhan, said.

"A blast occurred in Hotel Asasey in the heart of Kismayu, followed by gunfire".

"Many of us could have lost our lives to bullets or hunger or diseases", she said of many Somalis who immigrated to Canada.

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Around 5.30pm a suicide vehicle bomber followed by firefight which targeted Madina Hotel - formerly known as Cas-casey Hotel - in Kismayo where both journalists were staying.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab's military operation spokesman, said the group was behind the attack and that fighting was still going on. "We control the hotel now".

Hodan Nalayeh had recently returned to Somalia from Canada, and was one of two journalists killed in an attack at the Medina Hotel, according to a statement issued by the Somali Journalists Syndicate.

"She was an fantastic person with an awesome heart", said Mohamed Gialo, a close friend of Nalayeh, who said she helped find his daughter employment after his daughter graduated university. The metropolis's port had been a vital source of earnings for the crew from taxes, charcoal exports and levies on hands and other unlawful imports.

It remains a major security threat, with 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.

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