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MILITANT INSURGENCY

Siege in southern Somalia ends after vehicle bomb sparks clashes

Handout photo shows soldiers of the Kenyan contingent serving with Amisom sitting in a military vehicle as part of a resupply convoy in Dhobley.

A siege in the southern Somali town of Kismayo on Sunday ended after a battle between security forces and al-Shabaab fighters accused of setting off an explosive-laden vehicle. 

Attackers had earlier fought their way into the Tawakal hotel after the blast and then engaged in gun battles with local forces, police officer Farhan Ahmed said. At least three people have been killed and 10 wounded, he said by telephone from the town.

The Sonna news service later reported that all the fighters involved in the assault have been neutralised and “scores” of civilians rescued from the hotel.

Al-Shabaab militants have waged an insurgency in Somalia since 2006. US President Joe Biden in May authorised the US military to send Special Operations troops back to Somalia to counter the increasing threat of the al-Qaeda-linked group. In June, US air strikes against al-Shabaab killed two of the group’s members in southern Somalia.

At the time of the attack in Kismayo, the hotel was hosting a seminar attended by members of the community, including elders, witness Dhaqane Abdi said by telephone.

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