Aftermath of deadly Somalia hotel siege

Tuesday, 16 Jul, 2019

Mogadishu: At least 26 people were killed and 56 others injured in a deadly terrorist attack at a hotel in Somalian port town of Kismayo, officials said on Saturday.

The dead included a presidential candidate in next month's regional elections, Jubbaland state president Ahmed Mohamed Madobe said yesterday.

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

"We mourn the senseless deaths of our two colleagues, Mohamed Sahal and Hodan Nalayeh, who were both murdered in a cowardly and senseless terrorist attack", Omar Faruk Osman, the group's secretary general said in a statement.

Al-Qaida allied group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying four of its fighters entered the building with a vehicle laden with explosives and carried out the attack.

The death toll from Somalia's Kismayu hotel attack on Friday has risen to 26, Jubbaland region's president said on Saturday.

Regional politicians and clan elders were in the hotel discussing an upcoming regional election when the attack began. The Foreign Office said: "We are in touch with the local Somali authorities and seeking more information following an explosion in Kismayo".

She founded Integration TV, an global web-based video production firm aimed at Somali viewers around the world.

Al-Shabab, which is trying to topple Somalia's central government, has claimed responsibility for the attack on Friday.

"The operation is over", police officer Major Mohamed Abdi told Reuters news agency by telephone from Kismayu. "What a loss. Her attractive spirit shined through her work and the way she treated people".

He said the African Union's multinational force in Somalia will continue to work to stabilize the country. Three attackers died in the raid while one was captured.

In a recent podcast, Nalayeh said her television program about the Somali diaspora gave the community a voice.

Al-Shabab is linked to al-Qaida and remains a strong presence in rural Somalia. What a loss to us. In 2012, it was pushed out of Kismayo, whose port had been a major source of revenue for the group.

Al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al Shabaab, which is trying to topple Somalia's weak, United Nations -backed government.