Minister among 10 dead as troops end siege in Somalia

By Staff Editor , Garowe Online
Late deputy minister of labour

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somali government troops shot dead militants holed up in a ministry building in central Mogadishu on Saturday, ending hours-long bomb and gun attack, Garowe Online reports.

The Deputy Minister of Labour and Social affairs for Somali Government, Saqar Ibrahim Abdalla was confirmed to have been killed in an attack on the ministry headquarters on Saturday morning.

Saturday's attack began after a bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle at the gate of the building near Jubba junction which also houses the ministry of public works and the city's police.

Following the explosion, an estimated four attackers stormed the complex and subsequently shot dead several people inside, including Abdalla who was also a member of the country's Federal Parliament.

Minutes after, a second car bomb blast occurred in the same vicinity, sending clouds of white smoke into the sky above the compound, according to a witness, who spoke to Garowe Online over the phone.

“The operation is over and the building is now controlled by the security forces. The attackers were shot dead, their bodies are inside the building,” a police officer Captain Osman Mohamed told GO.

The compound, where the siege took place locates near the headquarters of the Intelligence Agency.

Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and PM Hassan Ali Khaire sent a message of condolence on the loss of the minister and other people in the car bombings and gun attack at ministry building.

The deadly attack comes as Somali military forces in parts of the country are vacating their bases to protest about non-payment of salaries for four months. This gave Al-Shabab a chance to come back.

The group was ejected from Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been driven from most of its other strongholds across the country. But it remains a formidable threat, with its fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and beyond.