A car bomb and shooting attack on a hotel in the Somali city of Kismayu killed nine people on Sunday before security forces ended the siege at the hotel and killed the attackers, a regional official said.
Gunfire erupted after an explosives-laden vehicle rammed into the gate of the port city’s Tawakal Hotel. The al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militant group said it had carried out the attack.
“In the explosion, nine people including students and civilians were killed and 47 others were injured, some of them seriously,” Yussuf Hussein Dhumal, Security Minister for Jubbaland, said.
“The hotel where the explosion happened was near a school, so many students were injured.”
Security forces killed three of the attackers and a fourth died in the bomb blsat, Dhumal said.
Before the attack, a meeting was being held at the hotel to plan how to fight al Shabaab, Farah Mohamed, a security officer, said.
Mohamed Nur, a police captain, and Farah Ali, a shopkeeper in Kismayu, said the blast at the hotel preceded the gunfire.
Video footage from the Somali National Television posted on its Twitter account showed security personnel load one of the wounded into an ambulance.
Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesperson, said the group was behind the attack, which he said had targeted Jubbaland region’s administrators who work from the hotel.
Kismayu is the commercial capital of Jubbaland, a region of southern Somalia still partly controlled by al Shabaab.
Al Shabaab was driven out of Kismayu 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 Kismayu killed at least 26 people.
The group is battling to topple Somalia’s central government and impose its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law. It has killed thousands of Somalis and hundreds of civilians across East Africa in a decade-long insurgency.
Somali security forces say they have made gains on the battlefield against al Shabaab in recent weeks while fighting alongside local self-defence groups, but the group has continued to carry out deadly raids.