Somali forces end Shabaab siege at hotel

2015-03-28 12:33


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Mogadishu - Somali elite units on Saturday ended a siege by al-Shabaab militants in a Mogadishu hotel, during which at least 18 people were killed.

Security forces killed the last remaining attacker at 05:30 GMT, 13 hours after the Islamist militants attacked the popular Maka-Almukarama hotel in the capital Mogadishu, according to the police.

At least ten civilians were killed and many others injured, senior police officer Cornell Adan Hersi told dpa.

Prominent Somali politicians, diplomats, government officials, journalists and doctors were at the luxury hotel at the time of the assault.

Six militants and two security forces personnel were also among the dead, said Hersi.

Gunfire and explosions could be heard throughout the night as special forces tried to dislodge the terrorists from the hotel.

"Some of the attackers were hurling grenades at the Somali special forces," said Hersi.

"The incident is over, as all terrorists who launched the attack were killed. Security forces rescued all the remaining civilians held hostage in the hotel," the police officer added.

The assault on the hotel began on Friday afternoon with a suicide car bomb, followed by a second suicide bomber blowing himself outside the building.

Armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, the attackers then entered the building, killing and wounding guests and hotel employees.

Among the dead civilians was Yusuf Mohamed Ismail Bari-Bari, Somalia's Permanent Representative to the UN office in Geneva, according to the Somali government.

Some hotel guests jumped out of windows of the hotel to escape the terrorists.

Somali ambassador to Germany, Mohamed Mohamud Tifow, was among the hotel guests who managed to flee.

"It was a horrific situation to witness. I saw people jumping from the second floor of the hotel to escape from the area," the ambassador told dpa by telephone.

Founded in 2006, al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab seeks a state with the strictest application of Islamic law. Somalia is fighting the group with African Union backing.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  somalia  |  east africa  |  security

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