Fifteen killed in Somalia terror attack

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A street scene in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. Photo: AU-UN IST/Stuart Price

A terror attack carried out by militants in the Somali capital of Mogadishu has been described as a "despicable act" by the UN special envoy for the country.

At least 15 people were killed and dozens were injured when a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in front of a popular hotel, while militants stormed the premises.

Two parliamentarians are among the dead as well as other prominent individuals.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

Killing civilians is an act of desperation, political instability and moral bankruptcy, Michael Keating, the Special Representative for the Secretary-General in Somalia said.

In a statement released on Thursday, he said that the militants may have intended the attack to be a show of strength, but that its effect is the opposite.

Al-Shabaab militants have claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attackers exchanged fire with hotel security guards and Somali security forces until the situation was brought under control on Thursday morning. 

The incident occured only days before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. 

Mr Keating said the incident was a stark reminder of the ruthless tactics employed by violent extremists. 

Meanwhile, the country is preparing to hold elections in August this year. 

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations. 

Duration: 49″

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