West News Wire: On Sunday, nine civilians were killed in an attack on a hotel in the heart of Kismayo, a port city in southern Somalia, before security forces shot and killed the attackers.
According to Yussuf Hussein Dhumal, the security minister for Jubaland, security personnel shot and killed three of the terrorists, and a fourth was killed in the bomb detonation.
Nine individuals, including students and citizens, were killed in the explosion, while 47 others, some of them critically, were hurt, according to Dhumal.
“Many youngsters were hurt because the motel where the explosion occured was next to a school.”
The hotel’s gate was hit by a vehicle carrying explosives, and the al-Shabab armed organization then claimed responsibility for the incident.
The port city is the latest to be hit following a resurgence of bloody attacks in recent months by the al-Qaeda-linked organisation, which has mainly targeted the capital Mogadishu and central Somalia.
Sunday’s assault began at 12:45pm (09:45 GMT) when a booby-trapped car rammed the entrance of Hotel Tawakal.
“This is not a government target,” said police officer Abdullahi Ismail. “It is just an ordinary, civilian-frequented hotel.”
But Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab’s military operation spokesperson, said the group intended to strike Jubbaland region’s administrators who work from the hotel.
Kismayo is the commercial capital of Jubbaland, a region of southern Somalia still partly controlled by al-Shabab, which was driven out of the urban centre in 2012.
The armed group was driven out of Mogadishu by African Union forces in 2011. However, it still controls swaths of the countryside.
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.
Al-Shabab has been trying to overthrow the government for more than 15 years and regularly attacks civilian and military targets.
Thousands of Somalis have been killed in a decade-long rebellion.
In August it launched a 30-hour gun and bomb attack on the popular Hayat hotel in Mogadishu, killing 21 people and wounding 117.
In 2019, the group conducted a similar attack on a hotel in Kismayo, killing 26 and injuring 56.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was elected in May, vowed after the siege in August to wage “all-out war” on the group.