10 dead after gunmen storm beach restaurant in Somalia's capital Mogadishu

A Somali government soldier runs to take position during an attack in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on June 25, 2016.
A Somali government soldier runs to take position during an attack in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on June 25, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOGADISHU (AFP/REUTERS) - Ten people were killed in an attack by Shabaab militants on a beachfront restaurant in the Somali capital Mogadishu, the police said on Friday (Aug 26).

Several gunman attacked a beachfront restaurant in Somalia's captial on Thursday (Aug 25), prompting an exchange of fire with the security forces, an AFP correspondent said.

The incident began when a nearby car exploded, after which the gunmen ran into the restaurant, a popular eatery near Lido beach. Somali security forces at the scene then exchanged fire with the gunmen who were holed up inside, the correspondent said.

Shots could still be heard coming from the scene, he added, as officers set up a security cordon around the restaurant.

The restaurant is popular with young people and government officials. Around 20 people managed to escape from the restaurant during the gunfight.  

By Friday morning, officials said the attackers had been killed.  

All the “attackers have been gunned down and the restaurant is now under the full command of the Somali government soldiers,” regional police commander Colonel Abshir Bishaar told the Somali National News Agency. 

Several Somali news outlets reported that the militant Shabaab group had claimed responsibility for the attack on the restaurant, which is often frequented by Somali officials.

An Al-Qaeda aligned group, the Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in the capital Mogadishu.

It was forced out of the capital by African Union soldiers five years ago but continues to launch regular attacks including many in recent months on restaurants, hotels and military bases, often using suicide car bombers and gunmen.

The group is expected to try and violently disrupt elections due to be held in September and October.