A terrorist attack by the Islamist group al-Shabab left at least 20 people dead at a beach near Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
Relatives were seeking to identify the victims Jan. 22, and one man was pictured as he discovered the body of his sister at the scene, Daily Mail reported.
Six gunmen attacked a restaurant at Lido beach around 7:30 p.m. local time Jan. 21. Two car bombs reportedly went off.
“They randomly fired at the people sitting near the beach before entering the restaurant,” witness Ahmed Nur said, according to Daily Mail.
Somali security forces intervened and regained control of the area after about eight hours.
“The place was packed when the [gunmen] came, so the number of casualties will probably rise,” added local police captain Mohamed Hussein.
Although al-Shabab was forced out of Mogadishu in 2011, conflict continues in the country. The Islamist group is affiliated with al-Qaida.
The beach had become a popular place for Somalis to relax, especially for those who recently returned to the country and government officials.
Al-Shabab frequently condemned Lido beach in its radio broadcasts, claiming activities that took place there were not Islamic.
Local residents pledged to return to the beach to defy al-Shabab, and a social media campaign was launched to share pictures of the area Jan. 22.
“A space to walk in style. A spot to play football. A place to catch the receding light of day,” Abdi Latif Tahir wrote on Twitter, using the hashtag #TweetLiidoPictures, The Guardian reported. Tahir’s cousin and a high school friend were said to be among the victims in the attack.
The terrorist attack follows an assault on a military base housing Kenyan peacekeeping troops for the African Union on Jan. 15. Al-Shabab fighters claim to have captured the base and killed up to 100 Kenyan soldiers in the process.
But the neighboring country’s military said that it was still investigating the incident and could not confirm the number of deaths, BBC reported.
About 4,000 troops from Kenya are deployed in Somalia as part of a total AU peacekeeping force of 22,000.