Somalia’s al-Shabab armed group has launched a car bomb attack Sunday, 31 January, on a hotel in the country’s capital, Mogadishu, killing at least three people.
“So far three people, two of them civilians, and a security guard were confirmed dead, but the death toll could be higher, said Mohamed Dahir a senior official with the national security agency.
A vehicle loaded with explosives crashed into the entrance gate of the Afrik hotel, near Mogadishu’s strategic K-4 junction, police spokesman Sadiq Adan Ali said.
A number of gunmen then quickly invaded the hotel, opening fire on staff and patrons inside, he said.
Government forces responded to the attack and gunfire could be heard coming from the hotel. Police rescued many people from the hotel, including its owner and an army general, according to The Associated Press news agency.
Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked armed group that seeks to overthrow the country’s internationally-backed government, claimed responsibility for the attack through its Andalus radio station.
“We know, they have changed nothing from their usual tactic, ramming explosives into a building and following up, assaulting with rifles, said Ali, the police spokesman.
Al-Shabab frequently carries out bombings in its war on Somalia’s government, which is backed by the United Nations and African Union (AU) peacekeeping troops.