Confidential sources put the death toll at yesterday’s Shabaab triple-blast assault on Hotel Sahafi at Kilometer 5, Mogadishu, at forty-four, with more than 100 others injured, some of whom critically.
Reports indicate that Al Shabaab fighters attempting to enter Sahafi hotel detonated three bombs to, ostensibly, put armed security at the hotel and in the immediate neighborhood in disarray, in order to enter the hotel and kill patrons.
The fighters, first, rammed a vehicle laden with explosives on the front gate of the Hotel, then followed it up with another at the back gare to target people fleeing from the scene. The third was, mainly for diversion, was detonated in an area that separated the Hotel from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) premises opposite.
Reporters who reached the area immediately after the triple blasts confirmed that the corpses and remains of around 24 people littered in front of the hotel could be identified. Around a dozen of whom, they said, were killed in a mini public transportation bus hit by the blast.
Reports confirm that among those killed was the Hotel Manager, Abdifattah Abdirashid Shire. His father was among those killed in a 2015 blast and shootout at the hotel.
Among the critically injured is Abdirizak Yussuf Bahlawi, Ex-Director General of the FGS ministry of information, and the Hodan district Police Commander, who happened to be closest to the blast area at the hotel during the attack.Security personnel at the hotel and in the area killed all six assailants, wearing the latest government-issued military fatigues, who tried to force their way into the hotel in the wake of the blasts, source state.
In 2015, the Shabaab Islamist fighters killed the Hotel owner, Abdirashid Ilqeyte, and the Somalia National Army Operational Commander, General Abdikarim Dhegabadan, in a similar deadly assault, along with scores of others including MPs and top government officials.
The Somalia Police Forces Commander, General Bashir Abdi Ameriko, and the city Mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman ‘Yarisow’, toured the scene to assess the damage, but declined to comment on the losses sustained.
A day earlier, MP Abdiweli Mohamed Ibrahim, of Hirshabelle Federal State parliament, was killed in a car blast at the front gate of London Hotel, Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu. A friend traveling with him and one of the security personnel manning the entrance also perished in the same blast.
Targeted killings, car blasts, roadside, planted mines, and face-to-face engagements have become the norm in the heavily guarded city despite the presence of tens of thousands of AU and other international military personnel.