A car bomb has exploded at a beachside hotel in Somalia’s capital, followed by heavy gunfire, according to police. Initial reports suggest at least five people have been killed and hostages have been taken.
Gunmen stormed an upscale beachfront hotel in Mogadishu on Sunday after a car bomb detonated outside in an attack reminiscent of others carried out by Al-Shabaab militants.
“There was a car bomb blast targeting Elite Hotel at Lido beach. There is heavy gunfire in the building,” said Adan Ibrahim, a police officer in the area.
At least five people, including two hotel security guards, have been killed, and the militants are feared to have taken hostages, police officer Ahmed Bashane told German news agency dpa.
The government did not immediately provide information on casualties, although Aamin Ambulance, a Mogadishu-based private service, reported that 28 people were wounded.
Security forces have been deployed to the area to assist the hotel guards and end the siege, said Bashane, noting that he expects the death toll to rise.
The hotel, owned by Somali lawmaker and prominent businessmen Abdullahi Mohamed Nur, is often frequented by politicians, journalists, civil society activists.