No fewer than five journalists were killed in a coordinated suicide bombing attack at a hotel in Mogadishu on Tuesday, the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) has said.
The attack also reportedly killed dozens of Somali civilians and soldiers, while wounding many more, according to Joseph Contreras, spokesperson for the mission.
“The latest figures that we have been seeing range from between 15 and 20 dead, some of whom were the attackers themselves, some of them Somali soldiers.
“Perhaps about half of the dead were civilians and among the dozens of injured were at least five journalists, Contreras said.
“Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Dayah Hotel, which is located near the presidential palace, and is frequented by lawmakers during their visits to Mogadishu.”
According to him, however, he was not aware if any lawmakers were visiting the hotel.
Contreras said the attack provides fresh evidence of the violent extremists’ desperate attempts to derail Somalia’s electoral process.
“The attack also reflects the terrorists’ frustration over their inability to sabotage recent voting for seats in the two Houses of Somalia’s new Parliament.”
Meanwhile, the interim Humanitarian Coordinator in the Central African Republic, Michel Yao, has expressed concern over increasing tensions in the Ouaka Préfecture, which raised fear of violence between rival armed groups in Bambari.
Yao stressed that an open conflict in the city would be devastating for the civilian population.
The UN aid envoy called on armed groups not to lose sight of the impact violent clashes would have on the already delicate situation of civilians.
He further urged them to preserve the gains made over the last two years on reconciliation and social cohesion as well as on the improvement of the humanitarian situation.