A car bomb attack and shooting at a hotel in the Somali city of Kismayu killed nine people on Sunday before security forces ended the siege of the hotel and killed the attackers, a regional official said.
Gunfire broke out after an explosives-laden vehicle rammed into the gate of the Tawakal Hotel in the port city.
The al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group al-Shabaab said it carried out the attack.
“The explosion killed nine people, including students and civilians, and injured 47 others, some seriously,” Yussuf Hussein Dhumal, Jubbaland’s security minister, told Reuters.
“The hotel where the explosion happened was near a school, so many students were injured.”
Security forces killed three of the attackers and a fourth died in the bombing, Dhumal said.
A meeting was held at the hotel before the attack to plan how to fight al Shabaab, Farah Mohamed, a security official, told Reuters from Kismayu.
Mohamed Nur, a police captain, and Farah Ali, a shopkeeper in Kismayu, told Reuters that the explosion at the hotel preceded the gunfire.
Video footage posted to its Twitter account by Somali National Television shows security personnel loading one of the injured into an ambulance.
Abdiasis Abu Musab, the spokesman for Al Shabaab’s military operation, said the group was behind the attack, which he said targeted the Jubbaland region administrators who work from the hotel.
Kismayu is the commercial capital of Jubbaland, a region in southern Somalia that is still partially controlled by al-Shabaab.
Al Shabaab was expelled from Kismayu in 2012. The city’s port was an important source of income for the group from taxes, charcoal exports and levies on weapons and other illegal imports.
In 2019, a similar attack at another hotel in Kismayu killed at least 26 people.
The group is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s central government and impose its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia.
It has killed thousands of Somalis and hundreds of civilians across East Africa in a decade-long insurgency.
Somali security forces say they have made gains on the battlefield against al-Shabaab in recent weeks while fighting alongside local self-defense groups, but the group has continued to carry out deadly attacks.