Car explosion, gunfire hit hotel in Somalia port city

A car laden with explosives rammed the gate of a hotel in the centre of Somalia’s port city of Kismayo followed by gunfire killing at least three people, the police said on Sunday.

The state-run Somali National Television said on Twitter that security forces were dealing with a “terrorist incident” at the hotel.

“There is a blast at Tawakal Hotel and there is gunfire being heard,” Mohamed Nur, a police captain, told Reuters from Kismayo.

Farah Mohamed, a security officer, told Reuters news agency that in addition to the three deaths, eight people were injured and taken to Kismayo hospital. Witnesses said a huge blast was heard before the gunfire started.

“The security forces have besieged the scene,” Farah Ali, a shopkeeper in Kismayo, told Reuters. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.

Journalist, Jama Nur Ahmed, from Mogadishu, quoting an official, told Al Jazeera that an “exchange of fire” was still ongoing between security forces and fighters.

Kismayo is the commercial capital of Jubbaland, a region of southern Somalia still partly controlled by the armed group, al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab was driven out of Kismayo in 2012. The city’s port had been a major source of revenue for the group from taxes, charcoal exports and levies on arms and other illegal imports.In 2019, a similar attack at another hotel in Kismayo killed at least 26 people.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was elected in May, has pledged to defeat al-Shabab after countless deadly attacks.

The armed group was driven out of Mogadishu by African Union forces in 2011. However, it still controls swaths of the countryside.Thousands of Somalis have been killed in a decade-long armed rebellion.

Somalia’s government has declared a crackdown on media organisations that publish what it deems propaganda for the armed group, al-Shabab, warning offenders will be punished.The armed forces, backed by local militias and international allies, have waged an aggressive campaign against the al-Qaeda-linked group. -Reuters

Show More
Back to top button