At least 10 people including a local journalist were reportedly killed and several others wounded in a suicide auto bomb attack, targeting a busy hotel in Somalia's southern port city of Kismayo on Friday evening, officials said. Officials said the death toll could rise as fighting continues between hotel security and the extremist gunmen.
They say a suicide bomber rammed a auto with explosives into the Asasey hotel in the port of Kismayo, and gunmen then stormed the building.
Security official Abdiweli Mohamed said several heavily armed gunmen forced their way inside the hotel, shooting as they went.
Somali Journalists Syndicate said in a statement that two journalists based in Kismayu had been confirmed dead in the attack.
Around 5.30pm a suicide vehicle bomber followed by firefight which targeted Madina Hotel - formerly known as Cas-casey Hotel - in Kismayo where both journalists were staying.
A prominent journalist Hodan Nalayeh is among those reportedly killed. "We control the hotel now".
Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab's military operation spokesman, said the group was behind the attack and fighting was still going on. "We control the hotel now".
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Regional politicians and clan elders were inside the hotel.
Nur became as soon as relating to elections within the metropolis due one day in August.
Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen said Nalayeh made immeasurable contributions to the Canadian Somali community.
Al Shabab was driven out of Kismayo in 2012, and the port has been relatively peaceful in recent years - unlike many other places in southern and central Somalia.
The Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, linked to Qaeda, said it had carried out a suicide attack.
It remains a major security threat, with fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, whose troops form part of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force that helps defend the Somali government.
Kismayu is the commercial capital of Jubbaland, a region of southern Somalia still partly controlled by al Shabaab.
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