Several killed in Mogadishu hotel attack

  • 01/11/2015
Security officers stand in front of the Sahafi Hotel after a car bomb exploded, in Mogadishu, Somalia (AAP)
Security officers stand in front of the Sahafi Hotel after a car bomb exploded, in Mogadishu, Somalia (AAP)

At least 12 people have been killed in the Somali capital Mogadishu after Shebab gunmen used a vehicle packed with explosives to blast their way inside a hotel.

The Al-Qaida linked Shebab claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack at the Sahafi hotel, which is popular with government employees and businessmen, where they said they were still fighting security forces.

But African Union troops, battling alongside government forces, said they had taken control of the building after defeating the insurgents.

"Attackers exploded a car bomb to gain entry before going inside... we have reports of 12 dead," policeman Abdulrahid Dahir said.

Witnesses said they had seen several bodies of people killed in the initial blast, when a minibus packed with explosive was reportedly used to ram the gates of the hotel's fortified compound.

Shebab commandos then stormed inside.

"There was a huge explosion, and people around the entrance were killed," said Mohamed Ismael, a witness, who was nearby when the attack began.

Shebab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab claimed the gunmen had overrun the hotel, which is situated near the major K4 roundabout.

"The mujahedeen fighters took control of the Sahafi hotel where apostates and invading Christians were staying," he said in a statement.

"The mujahedeen are carrying out operations inside the hotel after the takeover."

But the African Union mission in Somalia, AMISOM, a 22,000-strong force fighting the Shebab, said they fought alongside government troops and had secured the hotel.

AFP