Kismayo [Somalia]: At least ten people were killed after several gunmen stormed into the Asasey Hotel here on Friday after detonating a car bomb at the hotel’s entrance, as per local police.
Somali police captain Mahad Abdia told CNN that the deceased include two journalists, a regional president, and tribal elders.
A meeting regarding the upcoming local elections was taking place at the hotel when the incident occurred. Scores of regional officials and MPs were rescued from the site of the incident, the police official added.
Terror outfit Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, which has been condemned by Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre. The terror organisation claimed that it targetted Jubbaland state ministers, regional and federal lawmakers, along with candidates in the upcoming elections at the hotel.
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) announced the death of the two journalists, identified as renowned Somali-Canadian journalist Hodon Naleyeh and Mohamed Sahal.
“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,” the NUSOJ Secretary General, Omar Faruk Osman, stated.
“The death of Hodan and Mohamed speaks of the continuing hazards that journalists face in Somalia…They were deeply committed to independent journalism and the principles of a free media,” Osman further said.
Kismayo was recaptured from Al-Shabaab in 2012, leading to the return of at least 1,000 families to the region.