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6 killed, 50 others injured in terrorist attack in southern Somalia

6 killed, 50 others injured in terrorist attack in southern Somalia

"The relatives of a local journalist Mohamed Sahal confirmed his death and I'm getting that social media activist Hodan Naleye and her husband also died in the blast", another witness, Ahmed Farhan, said. "We mourn her loss deeply, and all others killed in the Kismayo attack", the minister added.

Several gunmen stormed the heavily fortified Asasey Hotel in Kismayo, about 500 km south of the capital Mogadishu, after detonating a vehicle bomb at the entrance gate, police captain Mahad Abdia told CNN.

"The blast rocked the popular Medina hotel formerly known as Cascasey which is located in downtown Kismayo", said Mohamed.

Local leaders and politicians were meeting at the hotel at the time of the attack.

"On behalf of the Somali Journalists Syndicate and the Somali media fraternity, we send our honest condolences to the families, colleagues and friends who lost the two journalists Hodan Naleyeh and Mohamed Omar Sahal", Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate said.

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Security forces said that their priority is to rescue hostages held in the hotel. According to the group's spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab as quoted by Reuters, the fighting still continues. "We management the hotel now".

Hussein Nur, a shopkeeper in Kismayu, told Reuters: "There were many people including officials and elders, mostly from one clan, who were discussing the coming Kismayu election".

Nur became as soon as relating to elections within the metropolis due one day in August.

Al Shabab was driven out of Kismayo in 2012, and the port has been relatively peaceful in recent years - unlike many other places in southern and central Somalia. The city's port had been a major source of revenue for the group.

The armed group remains a major security threat, with its fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, whose troops form part of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force that helps defend the Somali government.