Fierce Gunfight as Suspected Al-Shabaab Attack Mogadishu's Afrik Hotel
Sunday, January 31, 2021
The scene following twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. Casualties are feared as a huge bomb exploded at Afrik Hotel in Mogadishu on January 31, 2021.
Abdirazak Hussein Farah | AFP
Xinhua News Agency
Casualties are feared as a huge bomb exploded at a popular hotel located along the main airport road in Mogadishu on Sunday, witnesses and police confirmed.
The police near the scene said suspected Al-Shabab fighters breached the Afrik Hotel's barrier and stormed the facility's grounds, prompting a fierce gunfight.
"Our forces are exchanging fire with the attackers, we are trying to subdue them," the officer who did not want to be named told Xinhua on the phone.
Witnesses said they heard several blasts near the hotel.
They said the blast, which happened some minutes past 5 pm, caused massive damage to business premises around the highway and plumes of black smoke, which could be seen from a distance, engulfed the area.
"I heard huge blasts at the hotel and then a huge fire followed," Ismail Ahmed, a witness told Xinhua.
The Afrik Hotel is a popular hotel with government officials and located near Mogadishu airport.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack but al-Qaida allied terrorist group, al-Shabab usually stages such attacks in the capital and across the country.