Tourists are among the 26 killed after Islamic extremists blew up the gate of a hotel with a car bomb and took over the building for more than 14 hours.
At least four gunmen stormed the Asasey Hotel in Somalia on Friday (local time) before troops shot dead all attackers inside the building.
Among the victims was a prominent Canadian-Somali journalist, three Kenyans, three Tanzanians, two Americans and a Briton.
More than 50 people, including two Chinese, were also injured the attack on the hotel, which is frequented by politicians.
Somalia’a Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Canadian journalist among the dead
Al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida, often uses car bombs to infiltrate heavily fortified targets like the hotel in the city of Kismayo.
Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, died in the attack, Mogadishu-based independent radio station Radio Dalsan confirmed to AP.
“I’m absolutely devastated by the news of the death of our dear sister Hodan Nalayeh and her husband in a terrorist attack in Somalia today,” Omar Suleiman, a Texas-based imam who knew the victim, wrote on social media.
“What a loss to us. Her beautiful spirit shined through her work and the way she treated people,”
Nalayeh was born in Somalia in 1976, but spent most of her life in Canada, first in Alberta and then in Toronto.
She founded Integration TV, an international web-based video production company aimed at Somali viewers around the world. She was the first Somali woman media owner in the world.
Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen mourned Nalayeh’s death on Twitter, saying she “highlighted the community’s positive stories and contributions in Canada” through her work as a journalist.
“We mourn her loss deeply, and all others killed in the #KismayoAttack,” he wrote.
Islamic terrorism in Somalia
A top official of the African Union condemned the attack.
“This is an attack meant to derail progress in Somalia as the country rebuilds and consolidates the gains made on peace and security,” said Francisco Madeira, special representative of the chairman of the African Union Commission.
“Somalia has made tremendous progress in seizing territory and pushing out the terrorists from many places across the country.”
He said the African Union’s multinational force in Somalia will continue to work to stabilise the country.
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