07:37 GMT28 January 2020
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    An explosion took place at a time when local elders were meeting with lawmakers, a Somali police officer has said as quoted by Reuters.

    A huge explosion, followed by gunfire, was heard at a hotel in Somalia's port city of Kismayu, Reuters has reported, citing a local police officer. 

    "A blast occurred in Hotel Asasey in the heart of Kismayu, followed by gunfire. Local elders and lawmakers were having a meeting there. It is too early to know if there are any casualties," Major Mohamed Abdi, a police officer, told Reuters from Kismayu.

    The Al-Shabaab Islamist militant group has claimed responsibility for the blast, adding that this was a suicide attack. According to the group's spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab as quoted by Reuters, the fighting still continues.

    ​Casualties have been reported as a result of the blast, although the exact number has not been specified yet.

    The As-Aseey Hotel in Kismayo is reported to be still under attack by militants.

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