Wave of car bomb attacks kills over 40 in Mogadishu

At least 41 people, mostly civilians travelling in minibuses, were killed and 106 others were injured in Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday after Al-Shabaab militants detonated three car bombs amid shooting while attempting to storm a popular hotel where government officials stay, agencies report.

Five gun-yielding militants in police uniform were shot dead as they tried to force their way into Sahafi Hotel to target guests. Police rescued 52 Somali officials from Sahafi Hotel and the nearby Hayat Hotel,

Among the dead was the owner of Sahafi Hotel. His father Abdirashid Ilqeyte was also killed by Shabaab militants in an earlier attack on the facility in November 2015.

In the latest attacks, parts of the hotel perimeter, several shops and other buildings were destroyed.

Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, which has been fighting to overthrow the Somali government, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire condemned the bombings and sent his condolences to the victims’ families.

UN Secretary-General’s deputy special representative for Somalia, Raisedon Zenenga, said such acts of terrorism cannot undermine people’s will to pursue state-building, economic recovery and security priorities.

Although Shabaab militants were driven out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011, they continue bomb attacks on government, military, and civilian targets in Mogadishu and towns in the region.

Shabaab is believed to be behind a truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed 587 people in October last year.