Death toll from Somalia hotel attack rises to 39

1 / 7
A Somali security officer looks toward the scene of twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. (AFP)
2 / 7
A Somali soldier uses his mobile phone at the scene of twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. (AFP)
3 / 7
The scene following twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. (AFP)
4 / 7
The scene following twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. (AFP)
5 / 7
Somali security officers run from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia November 9, 2018. (Reuters)
6 / 7
Somali security officers run from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia November 9, 2018. (Reuters)
7 / 7
Smoke billows from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia November 9, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 10 November 2018

Death toll from Somalia hotel attack rises to 39

  • Suicide attackers set off 4 bombs at a hotel near the headquarters of Somalia’s Criminal Investigations Department
  • Militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack on the Hotel Sahafi in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU: Suicide attackers set off two car bombs at a hotel in Mogadishu on Friday, killing at least 39 people, police said.

Previous reports had indicated 29 fatalities from the attack, but police confirmed a total of 39 civilians died with 40 others injured.


The militant extremist group Al-Shabab, linked to Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Hotel Sahafi, which is near the headquarters of Somalia’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
Hotel guards and CID officers opened fire after the blasts, police added. Then, about 20 minutes later, a third explosion from a bomb placed in a three-wheeled “tuk-tuk” vehicle near the hotel hit the busy street, witnesses said.
Some of the victims were burned beyond recognition when one car bomb exploded next to a minibus, said a police official.




The scene following twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. (AFP)

“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 car bombs. The third car was remotely detonated. So in total 28 people died, including the six militants.”
Abdifatah Abdirashid, who took over the Sahafi from his father after he was killed in a militant attack in 2015, was among those who died in Friday’s attack, said Mohamed Abdiqani, a witness at the hotel.
“The militants who entered the hotel compound faced heavy gunfire from the hotel guards. Abdifatah Abdirashid, the hotel owner, and three of his bodyguards died,” Abdiqani said.
“Although they failed to access the hotel, the blasts outside the hotel killed many people,” the police official said.
“The street was crowded with people and cars, bodies were everywhere,” said Hussein Nur, a shopkeeper who suffered light shrapnel injuries on his right hand. “Gunfire killed several people, too.”
A Reuters photographer at the scene saw 20 bodies of civilians and burnt-out minibuses, motorbikes and cars.




Somali security officers run from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia November 9, 2018. (Reuters)

Abdiasisi Abu Musab, Al-Shabab’s spokesman for military operations, said the group had singled out the Sahafi for attack because of its association with the government the extremists want to overthrow.
“We targeted it because it acts as government base. Government officials and security forces are always in the hotel,” he told Reuters.
Somalia has been engulfed by violence and lawlessness since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in the early 1990s.

 

* With Reuters and AP.


Ethiopia says suspects confessed to killing popular singer

Updated 10 July 2020

Ethiopia says suspects confessed to killing popular singer

  • Hachala Hundessa became a symbol of the Oromo struggle during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power in 2018
  • Though Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo head of state, Oromo nationalists accuse him of insufficiently championing their interests since taking office

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia’s attorney general said Friday that two men had confessed to killing a popular singer from the Oromo ethnic group as part of a plot to topple Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.
Hachala Hundessa became a symbol of the Oromo struggle during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power in 2018.
His shooting death last week sparked days of protests and ethnic violence that killed 239 people, according to police figures.
“The assassination was intended to be a cover to take power from the incumbent by force,” attorney general Abebech Abbebe said in a statement Friday aired on state television, without providing details.
Though Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo head of state, Oromo nationalists accuse him of insufficiently championing their interests since taking office, a complaint echoed by many protesters last week.
Abebech said that along with the two men who have allegedly confessed to the crime, the government has identified a third suspect who remains on the run.
One of the men in custody identified the masterminds of the alleged plot as members of a rebel group the government believes is affiliated with the opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) political party, Abebech said.
The OLF, a former rebel movement, returned to Ethiopia from exile after Abiy took office and has repeatedly disavowed any links to armed insurgents.
The Internet remained shut off Friday for an 11th consecutive day, though Addis Ababa remains calm and Abiy’s office issued a statement saying the surrounding Oromia region had “returned to calm and citizens have resumed normal activities.”
In her statement, however, Abebech said unnamed agitators were calling for additional protests and road blockages in the coming days.
“There are those that have hidden themselves in nice places but are calling on Ethiopian youth to fight each other, close roads and to cease working as part of a rebellion call,” Abebech said.
“Above all we call on our people to disobey this rebellion call and to thwart it.”