Pair of Car Bombs Rip Mogadishu

At least six people were killed and eight others injured in a auto bombing outside the popular Nasahablod 2 Hotel in Mogadishu on Saturday.

"About 14 people, majority civilians, were confirmed dead so far and the security forces are still working to ensure the area is clear", said security official Mohamed Moalim Adan.

Two suicide bombers detonated auto bombs outside the entrance.

Local media reported that heavily-armed gunmen had stormed the Nasa-hablood hotel after the explosion and a gunbattle continues to rage on inside. A few minutes later a vehicle bomb exploded near the former parliament house nearby.

Gunfire was heard from inside the hotel building, where up to 20 people, including government officials, were assumed to be holed up as part of a standoff between security forces and militants.

A taxi driver at the scene told AFP he saw four bodies being carried away, while another witness called Yusuf Moalim said a senior police official appeared to be among the victims, whose auto had been near the hotel entrance when the blast occurred. Sporadic gunfire could be heard in the vicinity.

"We targeted ministers and security officials who were inside the hotel".

The United States under President Trump has made a renewed push to defeat the Shabab, Somali-based militants who have terrorized the country and East Africa for years, killing civilians across borders, worsening starvation and destabilizing a broad stretch of the region.

Nasa-hablood hotel is located near the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

The blast comes just two weeks after 350 people were killed on the streets of Mogadishu when a truck bomb exploded in the city's worst ever terror attack. At least 358 people were killed and about 400 injured, with numerous victims burnt beyond recognition.

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.

  • Joey Payne