A twin car bombing in Mogadishu, one of them at the gate of a popular hotel, left 14 people dead, Somalia’s security ministry said on Sunday.
The ministry also said that forces had killed two gunmen and captured three in the ensuing siege at Nasa Hablod Hotel.
Spokesperson Abdiasiz Ali Ibrahim said a number of people were rescued from the Shabaab gunmen. But the police in another statement said a total of 25 people died in the 12 hour siege at the hotel.
The attack began when a car bomb exploded outside the hotel entrance, followed by a minibus loaded with explosives going off at a nearby intersection.
“Five gunmen stormed the building, two of them were killed and the rest captured alive. The security forces are still working on retrieving the casualties, we don’t have exact number of the casualties so far,” the spokesman told reporters.
Another security official Mohamed Moalim Adan had put the death toll at 14, “most of them civilians”, as the operation was still ongoing Saturday night.
One senior police official and a former MP were among the dead.
The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab claimed the bombing and hotel assault in a statement on its Andalus radio station.
“The Mujahedeen fighters are inside Nasa Hablod 2 hotel where… apostate officials are staying,” said the brief statement.
The hotel is popular among government officials, several of whom were rescued by the security forces.
Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed condemned the attack which comes two weeks after a massive truck bomb killed at least 358 people in the capital, the worst attack in the troubled country’s history.
“The violent terrorists carried out this attack to scare our people who are united to support security after the disaster on October 14. Such atrocities will neither deter nor discourage our will to fight the terrorists,” the president said in a statement.
Source: ( AFP )