China has strongly condemned a deadly car bombing at a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on July 26 that killed at least 15 people, including one Chinese embassy staff member.
The well-guarded Jazeera Palace Hotel is a popular meeting point for foreigners in the turmoil-filled country, and it is also home to diplomatic missions such as the embassies of China, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang confirmed on the morning of July 27 that “one embassy staff member in charge of security and guard duties” died of injuries suffered in the attack, and three other embassy staff members were slightly injured.
Lu said China expressed condolences for all those killed in the attack, and said that “all the staff of the embassy have been transferred to a safe area”.
Somalia-based militant group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place around 4 pm.
The attack “was not specifically targeting China”, since the vehicle was following those of the African Union at the entrance of the hotel, and the Chinese embassy will continue operating its daily missions, said Liu Guijin, former special representative of the Chinese government on African affairs.
“Currently, the overall situation in Somalia is improving, but the security conditions there are not enough yet to allow economic cooperation on a very large scale,” Liu said.
Ministry spokesman Lu said that Somalia has said it will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of China’s institutions and personnel there.
The Chinese embassy in Somalia was forced to close in 1991 following the outbreak of the Somali civil war, and it officially resumed operations in October at the hotel.
The attack on July 26 came a day after the murder of a Somali lawmaker in Mogadishu.
He Wenping, a senior researcher of African studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, noted that al-Shabaab “has turned to launching more terrorist attacks”.
“It is aiming at a larger influence in the world, having no care about its image,” He said about the group, which has used suicide attacks against high-profile targets.
Yang Yixi, Xinhua and AFP contributed to this story.