29 October, 2017
A suicide lorry bomb exploded outside a popular hotel in Somalia's capital, killing at least 23 people and wounding more than 30, and gunfire continued as security forces pursued other attackers inside the building, police said.
Police officer Major Abdullahi Aden told Reuters the vehicle bomb said: 'They are fighting inside.
Police said earlier a suicide auto bomb had been rammed into a hotel and a former government building had been attacked.
"A vehicle loaded with explosives went off at the entrance of Nasa Hablod Hotel and there is gunfire", police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP, saying there was also "a minibus loaded with explosives which went off a nearby intersection".
The second vehicle bomb exploded near the former parliament building, and the extent of damage caused by the second explosion is not yet clear.
"We can hear the gunfire but it is hard to know who is fighting, the forces cordoned off the building and no-one can go close to it", said a witness called Abdulahi Nure.
The police personnel who died had been stationed close to hotel's gate.
Other victims included a senior Somali police colonel, a former lawmaker and a former government minister.
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"I think they were al-Shabab fighters who were trying to storm the hotel", he said, lying on a hospital bed.
Fellow witness Ismail Muktar said, "We can hear sporadic gunfire and grenade blasts and the area is very dark because the electric line was cut off amid the blast".
The Somali militant group Al Shabab said it carried out the bombings. "We are fighting inside", Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman, told Reuters.
Farmajo was scheduled to meet the presidents of the Somalia's five federal republics at the hotel later in the evening, he said.
The latest attack comes two weeks after a suicide truck bomb attack in Mogadishu left more than 358 people dead.
Somali reportedthat the number killed was at least three.
Al-Shabab, Africa's deadliest Islamic extremist group, quickly claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack and said its fighters were inside the hotel.