The terrorist attack on Mogadishu beach resorts on Thursday evening where 25 people died and 100 others injured was carried out with surgical precision by the al-Qaeda linked militants, al-Shabaab.
Several people who witnessed the dastardly act and agreed said on Friday that the attack on the busy restaurants along the Lido beach in Mogadishu was very swift.
Al-Shabaab attacked the restaurants as hundreds of guests relaxed there to sip their favorite beverages and enjoy the seaside breeze.
Mohammed Nor Shuriye, a Mogadishu based journalist witnessed horror unfold as al-Shabaab militants stormed into the Lido sea food restaurant.
According to Shuriye, the militants blasted their way inside the restaurant using a vehicle laden with explosives.
“There was a loud explosion as militants detonated a bomb inside the car which they used to gain entrance into Lido Sea food restaurant and beach view hotel. They shot at everyone on sight,” according to Shuriye.
During the terrorist attack, hundreds of revelers had already converged at the popular restaurants to enjoy cuisine and entertainment.
Shuriye said al-Shabaab militants attacked the restaurants from two directions and in a few minutes the number of the dead and injured had reached crisis levels.
“The shooting started from the beachfront and I spotted three gunmen shoot at revelers who included adults, children and youth. The explosions were deafening and the scene turned into a war theater,” said Shuriye.
He revealed that together with dozens of frightened patrons, they hide in the restaurant’s toilet for four hours until Somalia security forces rescued them.
Ali Nor Salad, a television journalist who also witnessed the carnage at the restaurant escaped death by a whisker when al-Shabaab militants held everyone hostage.
Salad was in the company of his friends at the Beach View Hotel when the terrorists struck.
“I was having a drink at Beach View Hotel together with my friends when the terrorist attack occurred. The venue was teeming with revelers and it was hard to count the number of the dead or injured,” Salad said.
He revealed there was a marriage ceremony inside the hotel when the militants launched an attack.
“Several women and children were felled by the gunmen and later it emerged that two government officials and two university lecturers also succumbed to injuries,” said Salad.
He added that a reporter working for BBC Somalia was also injured during the terrorist attack.
The attack on popular beach resorts by al-Shabaab militants confirmed the terrorist network is determined to reassert its authority in the Somalia capital after it was routed by African Union troops in 2011.
The minister for internal security of the federal government of Somalia, Abdirisak Omar Mohamed, said the attack was complex and well coordinated.
“The attack was carried out in a sophisticated manner but we managed to rescue all hostages and kill four terrorists. At least we minimized the number of casualties,” Mohamed told reporters.
He added that injured civilians were receiving treatment in several hospitals within Mogadishu.