Al-Shabaab terrorists attack hotel where MPs were meeting

February 21, 2015 5:11 pm

Government officials were meeting at the Central Hotel in ’s
capital when an Islamic extremist rammed an explosives-laden vehicle
into the hotel gate, and another went in and blew himself up, killing at
least 10 people.
Mogadishu’s deputy mayor and a politician were
killed in the attack, an MP said, and the country’s deputy prime
minister was among the wounded, said a police official.

 At least 10 people died in the attack on the Central Hotel, below, in
Mogadishu. “A dark day for our country,” said one official. Photo / AP

The
attack is the latest blow to the Somali Government’s efforts to contain
the deadly insurgency by the al-Qaeda-linked that, despite
the loss of key strongholds in Somalia, continues to stage attacks in
the capital and elsewhere. The Islamic insurgent group claimed the
responsibility for the twin suicide bombings, according to the group’s
radio station, Andulus.
“We can confirm that more than 10
persons, including politicians and soldiers were killed in that horrific
attack,” said Captain Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police officer.

The blast ripped off large parts of the hotel’s wall and smoke
blackened its facade. Two dead bodies were lying outside the hotel in
Mogadishu, and a wounded man struggled to stand up, but immediately
collapsed as blood gushed from his abdomen. Soldiers had cordoned off
the area.

One person rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of the Central Hotel in Somalia's capital. Photo / AP
One person rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of the Central Hotel in Somalia’s capital. Photo / AP
Terrified pedestrians ran through the streets, with one survivor recounting the bloody scene.
“Disaster, limbs were flying scattered around like tissue papers,” said Muhyadin Dahir, who was dust-faced and bloodied.
Somali legislator Omar Ali Nor and Mogadishu’s deputy mayor Mohamed Aden are among the dead, said lawmaker Mohamed Ali.
“A dark day for our country,” Ali said.
Deputy
Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte was rushed to a hospital, and was
among several other government officials at the hotel at the time of the
attack, said police officer Hussein. Somalia’s president Hassan Sheikh
Mohamud condemned the attack on the hotel, saying it would not derail
efforts by his Government to restore peace to Somalia which is
recovering from decades of war.
“We shall continue the
anti- war, this attack makes clear that don’t have
any respect for the peaceful religion of Islam by killing innocent
Muslims,” he said. .
The UN representative to Somalia, Nicholas
Kay, condemned the attack and called it a “cruel and despicable crime
intending to rob Somalis of their hope for a better future”.
This
is the second attack on a hotel in Mogadishu in less than a month. On
January 22, three Somali nationals were killed when a suicide car bomber
blew himself up at the gate of a hotel housing the advance party of the
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who visited the country days
later.
Despite setbacks last year, al-Shabaab continues to wage a
deadly insurgency against Somalia’s Government and remains a threat in
Somalia and the East African region.
Al-Shabaab controlled much
of Mogadishu during the years 2007 to 2011, but was pushed out of
Somalia’s capital and other cities by African Union forces.

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