AGL 5.27 Decreased By ▼ -0.23 (-4.18%)
ANL 8.45 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.47%)
AVN 75.82 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.03%)
BOP 5.15 Decreased By ▼ -0.09 (-1.72%)
CNERGY 4.41 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.23%)
EFERT 81.30 Decreased By ▼ -0.33 (-0.4%)
EPCL 49.29 Decreased By ▼ -0.41 (-0.82%)
FCCL 12.40 Decreased By ▼ -0.39 (-3.05%)
FFL 5.51 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.18%)
FLYNG 6.82 Increased By ▲ 0.09 (1.34%)
FNEL 4.68 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-0.43%)
GGGL 9.27 Increased By ▲ 0.85 (10.1%)
GGL 14.88 Increased By ▲ 0.93 (6.67%)
HUMNL 6.18 Increased By ▲ 0.10 (1.64%)
KEL 2.57 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.39%)
LOTCHEM 27.73 Increased By ▲ 0.08 (0.29%)
MLCF 23.57 Decreased By ▼ -0.22 (-0.92%)
OGDC 71.91 Increased By ▲ 0.81 (1.14%)
PAEL 15.13 Increased By ▲ 0.10 (0.67%)
PIBTL 4.83 Decreased By ▼ -0.07 (-1.43%)
PRL 15.66 Decreased By ▼ -0.32 (-2%)
SILK 1.07 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-2.73%)
TELE 8.85 Increased By ▲ 0.03 (0.34%)
TPL 7.34 Increased By ▲ 0.26 (3.67%)
TPLP 19.49 Increased By ▲ 0.23 (1.19%)
TREET 21.08 Increased By ▲ 0.23 (1.1%)
TRG 137.25 Increased By ▲ 0.65 (0.48%)
UNITY 16.30 Decreased By ▼ -0.25 (-1.51%)
WAVES 9.35 Increased By ▲ 0.10 (1.08%)
WTL 1.38 Increased By ▲ 0.03 (2.22%)
BR100 4,164 Increased By 6.3 (0.15%)
BR30 15,350 Increased By 10.3 (0.07%)
KSE100 41,698 Increased By 46.7 (0.11%)
KSE30 15,402 Increased By 22.3 (0.15%)
Follow us

MOGADISHU: Somali forces have ended a deadly siege by Al-Shabaab militants at a hotel in the capital Mogadishu that lasted about 30 hours, a security commander told AFP around midnight Saturday.

At least 13 civilians have been killed and dozens wounded since militants from the Al-Qaeda affiliate unleashed a gun and bomb attack on the popular Hayat Hotel on Friday evening, according to Somali officials.

“The security forces have ended the siege now and the gunmen are dead, we’ve had no incoming gunfire from the building in the past hour,” the commander told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He gave no further information about the total number of civilian or security casualties, or how many Al-Shabaab fighters had been killed, saying the government would give a press briefing on Sunday morning.

The building still needed to be cleared of any explosives that may have been planted, he added.

The attack was the biggest in Mogadishu since Somalia’s new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in June, and underscored the challenge of trying to crush the 15-year insurrection by the militant group.

The hotel, a popular spot for government officials, was destroyed after security forces pounded it with heavy weapons late Saturday in a bid to eliminate assailants who were holed up there for a second straight night.

Witnesses watching the drama from the rooftop of another building said they saw flames tear through the hotel during the bombardment by security forces, with heavy explosions and gunfire reported.

Scores of people were trapped when the assault began and although officials said dozens had been rescued, including children, it is not known how many were still inside when the siege ended.

Al-Shabaab, which has carried out numerous deadly attacks in its war against the fragile government in the Horn of Africa nation, has claimed responsibility. Security official Mohamed Abdikadir had told AFP earlier the number of civilians confirmed to have died was 13.

The director of Mogadishu’s main trauma hospital, Mohamed Abdirahman Jama, said it was treating at least 40 people wounded in the hotel attack and a separate mortar strike on a seaside area, Hamar Jajab.

Children found hiding in toilet

One woman, Hayat Ali, said three children aged between four and seven were found by security forces hiding in a hotel toilet in a state of shock but were later reunited with their family.

Another survivor told AFP he and some colleagues had performed evening prayers before taking tea in one of the hotel’s open spaces when they heard the first explosions on Friday, the start of the weekend in the mainly Muslim country.

“I managed to run to a nearby exit gate away from the gunmen,” Hussein Ali said. “The gunmen started firing and I could hear the shots behind me, but thanks to God… we managed to escape.”

Somalia’s allies, including the United States, Britain and Turkey, as well as the UN, have strongly condemned the attack. So did ATMIS, the African Union force tasked with helping Somali forces take over primary responsibility for security by the end of 2024.

“We express our heartfelt condolences to the families who lost loved ones, wish a full recovery to those injured, and commend Somalia’s security forces,” the US State Department said, while reiterating “steadfast” support for the country’s counterterrorism efforts.

Russian missile wounds 12 in Ukrainian town not far from nuclear plant

ATMIS expressed “solidarity” with the Somali government, while the UK’s embassy in Mogadishu said the country stood “alongside Somalia as it confronts those who seek to destroy what has been achieved”.

Witnesses had reported at least two powerful explosions on Friday as gunmen burst into the hotel. Police said the initial blast was caused by a suicide bomber who forced his way into the hotel with other gunmen.

A second explosion occurred just minutes later, witnesses said, inflicting more casualties as rescuers, security forces and civilians rushed to the scene.

In a statement by the group’s news agency cited by the SITE Intelligence monitoring group, the militants claimed to have held hostages during the siege, including government and security officials.

No negotiations yet

Al-Shabaab has carried out several attacks in Somalia since Mohamud took office, and last month launched strikes on the Ethiopian border.

Earlier this week, the United States announced its forces had killed 13 Al-Shabaab operatives in an air strike, the latest since President Joe Biden ordered the re-establishment of a US troop presence in Somalia, reversing a decision by his predecessor Donald Trump.

Mohamud said last month that ending the militant insurrection required more than a military approach, but that his government would negotiate with the group only when the time was right.

Al-Shabaab was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, but still controls swathes of countryside and is able to launch deadly strikes, with hotels and restaurants often hit.

The deadliest attack occurred in October 2017 when a truck packed with explosives blew up in Mogadishu, killing 512 people.

Comments

Comments are closed.

Somali forces end militant hotel siege: security commander

Supreme Court declares new Reko Diq mine deal legal

Google opens liaison office in Pakistan, registers with SECP

Croatia stun Brazil in penalty shoot-out to reach World Cup semi-finals

Nawaz’s return will decide who wins elections: Rana Sanaullah

Rupee depreciation continues, settles at 224.4 against US dollar

Sindh police take Azam Swati into custody from Quetta

Putin says Russia may cut oil production over West’s price cap

At $561.16bn, India's forex reserves rise for 4th week, hit over 3-month high

Pakistan Refinery says will shut down for 'approximately 20 days'

Oil set for 10% weekly drop as demand worries dominate