Paramedics at the Madina hospital push a gurney with a civilian injured in a car bomb explosion in the Kilometre 4 area of Mogadishu, Somalia January 31, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Five civilians were killed in an attack at a hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday, where four attackers also were confirmed dead, according to Somali police. The authorities said nine people, including four militants were killed at the Afrik Hotel. The extremist group al-Shabab claimed credit for the attack. The siege followed a car explosion at the hotel gate in Somalia’s capital.

The deadly siege at the Afrik hotel, which left 10 other civilians injured, ended after Somali security forces battled militants for eight hours, police spokesman Sadik Aden Ali said at a press conference early on Monday.

The attack on the Afrik Hotel began with a car bomb, followed by an hours-long gun battle with security forces.

In a statement released yesterday, James Swan, special representative of the secretary-general for Somalia and head of the UN Assistance Mission in the country, denounced the attack.

“We are appalled by this reprehensible and senseless attack on a venue frequented by innocent civilians, and condemn it in the strongest terms,” Swan said.

Several civilians trapped in the hotel were rescued by security forces.

In the statement, the UN representative in Somalia expressed condolences to the families of the victims, and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

Situated in the Horn of Africa, Somalia has suffered a number of brutal terrorist attacks, many of which have been claimed by al-Shabaab. In one such incident in August 2020, at least 17 people were killed when the terrorist group attacked the Elite Hotel, resulting in a seven-hour battle with security forces.

As a result, Somalia has threatened to withdraw from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa, which was created in 1996 as a regional bloc. A fact-finding mission was created by the organization last month as an intervention aimed at easing tensions between Somalia and Kenya.

On Dec 15, Somalia cut diplomatic ties with Kenya and wrote to the regional bloc of eight members, demanding an independent mission to verify claims that Kenya was arming and training militia to fight the Somalia National Army forces stationed in Gedo near their common border.

Led by Yacin Elmi Bouh, the Djiboutian ambassador to Kenya, and his counterpart to Somalia, Aden Hassan Aden, the team that also included an authority observer said they had found no evidence supporting violations by Kenya.

While condemning the attack on Monday, the UN representative in Somalia expressed condolences to the families of the victims, and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack through a statement broadcast by Andalus Radio, its mouthpiece channel.