Here are the faces of some of the 26 people killed when Al Shabaab gunmen stormed a hotel in the Somali port city of Kismayo, in what was regarded the deadliest attack in the city since insurgents were driven out in 2012.
Regional president Mohamed Madobe said three Kenyans, one Briton, two Americans and three Tanzanians were among those killed. Fifty six people were injured, including two Chinese.
A car bomb exploded at the hotel in the southern port city while local elders and lawmakers were meeting on Friday night, before three gunmen stormed in, police said. Security forces took 11 hours to end the siege, they said.
The dead included a presidential candidate for August’s Jubbaland regional elections, Jubbaland state president Ahmed Mohamed Madobe said. At least two journalists and a U.N. agency staff member were also reported to have been killed.
The Somalia office of the U.N. International Organization for Migration said local staff member Abdifatah Mohamed was killed. SADO Somalia, a local non-governmental organization, said its executive director Abdullahi Isse Abdulle had died.
Two journalists were among the dead: Somali-Canadian Hodan Naleyah, the founder of Integration TV and Mohamed Sahal Omar, a reporter for SBC TV in Kismayo, while Naleyah’s husband Jama Fariid Suleman was also killed, the Jubbaland president said.
“Through her work as a journalist, Hodan highlighted the community’s positive stories and contributions in Canada. She became a voice for many. We mourn her loss deeply, and all others killed in the #KismayoAttack,” Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s immigration minister, wrote on Twitter.
Mahad Nur, a Tanzanian hotelier, property developer and supermarket owner, also died, Tanzanian deputy health minister Faustine Ndugulile said on Twitter.
Jubbaland’s minister of planning, Aw Hersi, said some of the foreign nationals killed also held Somali citizenship.
Al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al Shabaab, which is trying to topple Somalia’s weak, U.N.-backed government claimed responsibility for the attack.
Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s military operations spokesman, said militants killed 30 people, while four al Shabaab fighters also died.
Regional president Madobe said three Kenyans, one Briton, two Americans and three Tanzanians were among those killed.
“Four militants attacked the hotel. One of them was the suicide car bomber, two were shot dead and one was captured alive by Jubbaland security forces,” he said, adding that 56 people were wounded in the attack, including two Chinese.
Police had earlier said all the attackers were killed.
Kismayo is the commercial capital of Jubbaland, a region still partly controlled by al Shabaab, whose fighters frequently carry out bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, whose troops form part of an African Union peacekeeping force.
Al Shabaab was forced out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011 and has since lost most of its other strongholds.
It was driven out of Kismayo in 2012 by Kenyan forces in support of a regional militia headed by Madobe. The city’s port had been a major source of revenue for the Islamists from taxes, charcoal exports and levies on arms and other illegal imports.
Jubbaland is scheduled to have parliamentary elections this month and presidential elections in August.