Se­ries of bomb­ings in cap­i­tal

Three ex­plo­sions in front of a ho­tel, then a fourth blast hits as medics at­tempt to res­cue the in­jured

The Sunday Independent - - WORLD - REUTERS AP Reuters AP

FOUR car bombs by Is­lamist ex­trem­ists ex­ploded out­side a ho­tel in the cap­i­tal Mogadishu on Fri­day, killing more than 25 peo­ple and in­jur­ing more than 17, po­lice said.

Af­ter the three ex­plo­sions in front of the ho­tel, a fourth blast hit as medics at­tempted to res­cue the in­jured.

The sui­cide bombs det­o­nated near the perime­ter wall of the Sa­hafi Ho­tel, which is lo­cated across the street from the head­quar­ters of the So­mali Po­lice Force’s Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tions Depart­ment (CID), Cap­tain Mo­hamed Hus­sein told the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Some of the vic­tims were burned beyond recog­ni­tion when one car bomb ex­ploded next to a minibus, he said.

Among the dead was Ab­d­i­fa­tah Ab­di­rashid, the man­ager of the Sa­hafi Ho­tel, whose fa­ther was the owner of the ho­tel be­fore he was killed in an al-Shabaab at­tack on the es­tab­lish­ment in 2015, said Hus­sein.

The mil­i­tant Is­lamist group al-Shabaab, linked to al-Qaeda, claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack at the ho­tel.

Ho­tel guards and CID of­fi­cers opened fire on the mil­i­tants af­ter the blasts, po­lice said. About 20min­utes later, a third ex­plo­sion from a bomb placed in a three-wheeled “tuk-tuk” ve­hi­cle near the ho­tel hit the busy street, wit­nesses said.

“Four mil­i­tants who at­tempted to en­ter the ho­tel were shot dead by our po­lice and the ho­tel guards,” po­lice cap­tain Mo­hamed Ahmed told Reuters. “Two other mil­i­tants were sui­cide car bombers who were blown up by their bombs. The third car was re­motely det­o­nated.

“In to­tal, 28 peo­ple died, in­clud­ing the six mil­i­tants.”

A Reuters pho­tog­ra­pher at the scene saw 20 bod­ies of civil­ians and burnt-out minibuses, mo­tor­bikes and cars.

Ab­di­a­sisi Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s spokesper­son for mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions, told Reuters that the group had sin­gled out the Sa­hafi for at­tack be­cause of its as­so­ci­a­tion with the govern­ment that the Is­lamists want to over­throw.

So­ma­lia has been en­gulfed in vi­o­lence and law­less­ness since dic­ta­tor Mo­hamed Siad Barre was top­pled in the early 1990s. | A SOUTH Korean De­fence Min­istry official said the North and South Korean mil­i­taries had com­pleted with­draw­ing troops and firearms from 22 front line guard posts as they con­tinue to im­ple­ment a wide-rang­ing agree­ment reached in Septem­ber to re­duce ten­sions.

The official said sol­diers com­pleted dis­arm­ing 11 guard posts on the south­ern side of the Demil­i­tarised Zone that di­vides the Koreas yes­ter­day.

The official said the min­istry be­lieves the North has also fin­ished with­draw­ing per­son­nel and weapons from 11 guard posts on the north­ern side of the DMZ.

The Koreas plan to de­stroy 20 of the struc­tures by the end of the month, while sym­bol­i­cally leav­ing one demil­i­tarised guard post on each side. They plan to jointly ver­ify the results in December. |

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