Al-Shabaab militants lay siege on hotel in Somali capital, 4 dead

Al-Shabaab militants lay siege on hotel in Somali capital, 4 dead

At least four people were killed in an ongoing attack by Al-Shabaab militants who laid siege to a popular hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu overnight, a security agency official told AFP on Monday.

More than 12 hours after the militants seized the hotel next to the presidential palace in a hail of gunshots, gunfire and explosions were still audible.

Mohamed Dahir, an official from the national security agency, told AFP the gunmen were holed up in a room at the Villa Rose surrounded by government forces.

“So far we have confirmed the death of four people,” he said. He added that others had been rescued from the besieged venue.

“Very soon the situation will return to normal.”

He also added that Government officials were among others injured.

The Villa Rose is frequented by MPs and located in a secure central part of the capital; it’s just a few blocks from the office of Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. Al-Shabaab is a militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda that has been trying to overthrow Somalia’s central government for 15 years.

Read more: Suspected-Al-Shabaab-suicide-bomber-kills-11-people-in-Somalia/

Police said the gunmen rushed into the hotel in Bondhere district at around 8:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Sunday. He further added that an operation was under way to “eliminate” them.

More than 12 hours later, witnesses near the scene described still hearing loud explosions and gunfire.

“I saw several military vehicles with special forces heading towards the hotel; and a few minutes later, there was heavy gunfire and explosions,” said local witness Mahad Yare.

In a statement late Sunday, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), a 20,000-strong military force drawn from across the continent, praised the “swift” security response to the attack.

 

Post source : AFP

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