Deadly blast in Somalia at Jazeera hotel in Mogadishu

At least 10 people have been killed in a huge explosion at a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu. A BBC reporter in the city says a lorry was used to attack the Jazeera hotel near the city’s airport.

International diplomats often stay at the hotel, which has been targeted in the past.

“It is one of the worst scenes of destruction he’s ever seen in Mogadishu, and ambulances have begun collecting bodies,” the BBC reporter adds.

Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack on the hotel. It said it was responding to assaults on the group by an African Union force and the Somali government.

International diplomats often stay at the hotel, which has been targeted in the past. “A suicide car bomb exploded at the gate of Jazeera Hotel,” Major Nur Osoble, a police officer, told Reuters news agency.

A government security officer was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying that hotel security guards were among the dead.

Death toll in Mogadishu hotel bomb attack rises to 14

The death toll in a bomb attack Friday by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab militants on a Mogadishu hotel rose to 14, police said Saturday.

“Fourteen people were killed and 13 others wounded in the attack,” Somali Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Heyr Mareye told reporters at the scene. Security officials had said Friday that at least 10 were killed.

Photo Credits : AFP

Somalia gets its first ever ATM

Somalia’s first-ever cash withdrawal machine has been installed in the capital, Mogadishu.

The Mogadishu-based Salaam Somali Bank installed the machine in a hotel used by diaspora, foreigners and government officials.

Bank official Moalim Abukar told VOA Somali Service the machine will allow customers to withdraw money from their foreign accounts.

Abukar said that the installation of the ATM was “a big step forward” and it represents the growth and strength of Mogadishu’s business community.

Somalia has a rudimentary banking sector, with many people relying on remittances from abroad.

The national currency, the shilling, is almost worthless and many businessmen and foreigners deal in U.S. dollars.


Mogadishu rocked by deadly gun battles

At least 14 people were killed and more than 20 injured as heavy fighting broke out in Mogadishu after government troops launched a dawn attack on a house belonging to a former militia leader as part of a disarmament campaign, residents and officials said.

Explosions and gunfire were heard on Friday in the Somali capital as government troops backed by African Union forces battled militiamen.

“At least 14 people, mostly militia, died in the fighting this morning. The government’s aim is to secure the city,” Major Abdullahi Farah, a senior police officer, told Reuters.

Government forces want to disarm fighters loyal to Ahmed Daaci, a former militia leader and ex-district commissioner of Mogadishu’s Wadajir.

Fatima Ali, a Mogadishu mother of four, said the battle sent everyone in her house to the ground for safety.

“We are very terrified,” she said. “We haven’t heard something like this for some time,” she told the Associated Press.