Mogadishu: al Shabaab claims responsibility for Mogadishu attack

Capture_109MOGADISHU – A suicide car bomber crashed his vehicle into a gate outside a hotel frequented by lawmakers in the centre of the Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday and the attack was followed by gunfire, police said.

Al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab militants quickly claimed responsibility for the attack near the Hotel Ambassador.

“A suicide car bomber has targeted the Hotel Ambassador along Maka Al Mukaram Road. He rammed into the gate. It is too early to know casualties,” Colonel Ali Mohamed, a Mogadishu police officer, told Reuters.

A Reuters witness could see a cloud of smoke rising from the area.

Maka Al Mukaram is a major street that links another major artery, K4, to the presidential palace, and it is lined with hotels, restaurants and banks in the heart of the capital.

In other incidents, Somali security forces killed 17 al Shabaab fighters including the head of their intelligence unit and a man suspected to have orchestrated a deadly attack on a Kenyan university in 2015, government officials said.

In one incident, Mogadishu municipality spokesman Abdifatah Omar said, security forces killed a man known only as Daud who headed al Shabaab’s intelligence wing, known as Amniyat. Omar did not say when he was killed or give other details.

In the second incident, Abdirashid Hassan Abdi, the semi-autonomous Jubbaland region’s security minister said its forces had killed 16 al Shabaab fighters in Bulagadud, some 30 km to the north of the Indian Ocean port of Kismayu.

Among the dead, he said, was Mohamud Ali Dulyadeyn, suspected to have been the mastermind of an April 2015 attack on Garissa University that killed 148 people, the worst such assault in Kenya in almost 20 years.

Four of those killed were al Shabaab officials, he added.

“We also seized this car which belonged to Dulyadeyn. The four al Shabaab officials including Dulyadeyn were responsible for masterminding explosions.”

Al Shabaab was not immediately reachable for comment.

Al Shabaab, which aims to topple Somalia’s government, was driven out of Mogadishu by the African Union force AMISOM in 2011, and last year was ousted from strongholds elsewhere in the south by AMISOM and the Somali National Army.

 

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