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Somalia: Deadly attack on seafront restaurant in Mogadishu

Saturday 23 January 2016, by siawi3

Source: http://witnesssomalia.org/index.php/14-icetheme/homepage/170-deadly-attack-on-seafront-restaurant-in-mogadishu

Published: 22 January 2016

On 21st January 2016, around 7:30pm local time, a popular beachfront restaurant “Liido Sea Food Restaurant” was attacked by armed groups with gunfire and explosions simultaneously. It started with the attackers randomly firing people setting near the beach followed by car bomb went off near the main exit gate of the restaurant. So far 20 people have been killed and more than that number which has not yet confirmed were injured. Majority of the deceased were civilians, there were two events going on in the restaurant at the time of the incident, a wedding party and small graduation ceremony organized by group of grandaunts who were enjoying their moment at the beach.

Liido sea food is a popular place for many visitors including business people, students, government workers and Somali diaspora who have returned from abroad. The attack occurred at time when the resultants was busy with a lot of people who came to relax and enjoy the weekend at the beach.

Photo of President Hassan Sheikh at Liido beach which was a place where everyone would like to go on weekends

“I was sitting near the beachside of the restaurant” says one of the survivors “after we heard huge explosion, gunmen immediately burst into the restaurant and started firing, I started running toward the exit gate but there was a lot of gunners i entered into the kitchen”.

After 40 minutes of the first explosion, a second one again has rocked the exist gate of the restaurants which has resulted an increase of the casualties. Several people who were escaping toward the exit were caught up with the second explosion. A lot of cars parked outside were completely burned and the gunfire again has increased.

The attackers held some hostages inside the restaurant and eventually killed all of them. The security forces have also stormed the restaurants hunting the attackers, however, the attack lasted for several hours and in 3:00am in the morning, and gunfire could still be heard by the residents in the city. The security officers have rescued several people and eventually finished the siege after killing all the attackers except the head of their operation who was caught alive.

The most pain part of the tragedy was the death of a whole family members except their youngest daughter and their father who was not there. Three other siblings including brother and two sisters were also among the deceased. A four years old boy has survived after he hid himself under the deceased body of his mother, when the rescue team came the only words the young kid could say was “please wake my mum up, she sleeping”. the situation there was beyond describable and totally against humanity.
Most of the visitors were normal civilians mainly women and children, young boys and girls

Photo: weekend gathering at Liido Beach: Most of the visitors were normal civilians mainly women and children, young boys and girls

Al-shabab have openly claimed the responsibility of this attack, their spokesperson have through social media that they have killed their target and that their mission was successful.

Several restaurants have opened up along the beach front in recent years in Mogadishu as part of the country’s recovery process from protracted armed conflict. For many, the beach restaurant was a sign of peace, sign of restoration of lost hope and a sign of raising again. Nevertheless, this incident have created panic and fear among the Somali community particularly those living inside Mogadishu.