Jubbaland security forces on Saturday early morning ended an overnight attack by the Al-Shabaab Islamist militant group on a hotel in the southern port city of Kismayo that killed over 15 people including prominent politicians and journalist and injured more than 40 people.
The operation was concluded at 7 am, and 15 people have been confirmed dead, many people have been rescued including federal members of parliament and Jubaland administration officials.
The four Al-Shabaab attackers were shot dead inside the hotel.
Members of the al-Qaeda linked group stormed the hotel after targeting it with a car bomb on Friday evening while local elders and lawmakers were meeting to discuss approaching regional elections.
A journalists’ group had confirmed on Friday that two journalists were among the dead; Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Naleye, the founder of Integration TV, and Mohamed Sahal Omar, reporter of SBC TV in Kismayo.
Al Shabaab was ejected from Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been driven from most of its other strongholds has taken the responsibility of the attack.
Al-Shabaab was also driven out of Kismayo in 2012. The city’s port had been a major source of revenue for the group from taxes, charcoal exports and levies on arms and other illegal imports.
Kismayo is the commercial capital of Jubbaland, a region of southern Somalia still partly controlled by Al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab remains a major security threat, with fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighboring Kenya, whose troops form part of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force that helps defend the Somali government.