At least 14 people were killed and several others injured in a bomb attack outside a popular hotel in Somali capital Mogadishu on Thursday.
Abdiaziz Ali Ibrahim, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Internal Security, told journalists that the bomb which ripped through the Wehliye Hotel was loaded with explosive materials and went off shortly before 5 p.m. local time.
Ibrahim said most of those affected were civilians, mostly street vendors sitting outside the hotel. “We can confirm that 14 people have been killed,” he told reporters at the scene. “Most of those affected were sitting outside the hotel,” he added.
It is a common feature in Mogadishu for people to have tea at the sideways.
The hotel, located along the busy Maka Al-Mukarrama road is frequented by senior government officials including security officials.
Witnesses said the death toll is likely to rise since several people who were injured are in critical condition in hospital.
Witnesses told Xinhua the explosion was devastating. “The blast was so huge and I thought it was just metres away from where I was. The whole place was covered by smoke,” Abdullahi Mohamed said.
The incident which took place along Maka al Mukarama road adds to several others which claimed several lives in this street.
No group has claimed responsibility for the latest blast but Al-Shabaab fighters are often behind such attacks in the Horn of Africa nation.