At least 14 dead in Mogadishu attack

Oct 29, 2017, 01:53
At least 14 dead in Mogadishu attack

Two vehicle bombs exploded Saturday in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, killing unknown numbers of people.

The attack comes two weeks after a truck bomb left 358 people dead in the city.

Speaking by telephone from the scene, Captain Mohamed Hussein said more than 20 people, including government officials, were thought to be trapped as the extremists holed up on the top floor of the Nasa-Hablod hotel, close to the presidential palace.

At least 16 people were said to be injured.

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According to Somali national news agency (SONNA), former MP Abdinasir Garane and former police commissioner of Daynile district Mohamed Yusuf were among the dead.

"The Mujahedeen fighters are inside Nasa Hablod 2 hotel where... apostate officials are staying", said a brief statement posted on a pro-Shabaab website, quoting Andalus.

He suffered small injuries on his shoulder and skull from flying glass.

President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohammed, escaped death on Saturday, after the al-Shabab militant group attacked Hotel Naasa-Hablood, where he was scheduled to hold a meeting.

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Witnesses said gunmen stormed Nasa-Hablod hotel after detonating a vehicle filled with explosives at the entrance.

"We can hear the gunfire but it is hard to know who is fighting, the forces cordoned off the building and no one can go close to it", said Abdulahi Nure.

The Shabaab has made attacks on hotels - commonly beginning with a suicide vehicle bombing followed by an invasion by gunmen - a regular strategy in its decade old battle to overthrow successive internationally-backed governments in Mogadishu.

The Shabaab lost their foothold in Mogadishu in 2011 but have continued their battle to overthrow the Somali government, launching regular attacks on military, government and civilian targets in the capital and elsewhere.

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A 22,000-strong multinational African Union force in Somalia is expected to withdraw its forces and hand over the country's security to the Somali military by the end of 2020.