Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Huge blast in hotel in Somalia's Kismayu, followed by gunfire

Huge blast in hotel in Somalia's Kismayu, followed by gunfire

A Somali official says the attack started with a suicide auto bomb blast and then gunmen stormed a hotel in the port city of Kismayo.

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.

Major Mohamed Abdi, another police officer, told Reuters earlier that local elders and lawmakers were meeting at the Hotel Asasey when the attack happened.

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

A automobile bomb went off on Friday at a hotel in Somalia's port metropolis of Kismayo where local elders and lawmakers were meeting to focus on an upcoming regional election and became as soon as followed by gunfire, a police officer mentioned.

Mogadishu-based independent radio station Radio Dalsan confirmed to The Associated Press that Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman died in the attack.

The attack began when an explosives-laden vehicle detonated at the front entrance of the Asasey hotel, a popular meeting spot for regional officials and visitors from the diaspora.

In a statement, the Somali Journalists Syndicate said there were two reporters killed.

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Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's military operation spokesman, said the militant group was behind the attack and that fighting was still going on.

According to the bits and pieces coming out from the city, the police is is still battling out with the fighters inside the hotel compound.

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

It said Nalayeh had recently returned from Canada.

The Somali Journalists Syndicate says Naleyeh was the producer, presenter and founder of Integration TV.

It remains a vital security threat, with warring parties recurrently undertaking bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, whose troops create section of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping power that helps shield the Somali authorities.

Outside of Kismayo, al-Shabaab still controls parts of Jubbaland, a region in southern Somalia.

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