A Briton was among several foreigners killed in a terrorist attack on a hotel in Somalia, officials have said.
Those killed in the attack in the southern port city of Kismayo also included three Kenyans, three Tanzanians, two Americans and one Canadian, said Ahmed Madobe, the president of Jubbaland regional state. A presidential candidate for upcoming regional elections was also killed in the attack.
At least four al-Shabaab extremists attacked the Asasey Hotel on Friday evening, where community elders and lawmakers had been discussing an upcoming election.
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A suicide car bomb detonated at the entrance gate before gunmen stormed into the hotel.
A local police officer said the attack lasted more than 14 hours before troops shot dead all attackers inside the hotel compound.
The British Foreign Office said: “We are in touch with the local Somalia authorities and seeking more information following an explosion in Kismayo.”
The Islamist group, which is allied to al-Qaeda, often uses car bombs to infiltrate heavily fortified targets like the hotel in Kismayo, which has been relatively quiet in recent years.
Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, died in the attack.
“I’m absolutely devastated by the news of the death of our dear sister Hodan Nalayeh and her husband in a terrorist attack in Somalia today. What a loss to us. Her beautiful spirit shined through her work and the way she treated people,” Omar Suleiman, a Texas-based imam who knew the victim, wrote on social media.
With additional reporting from agencies