Somalia Security forces end deadly siege in Mogadishu hotel


MOGADISHU, Somalia - Security forces in Somalia have ended a deadly siege in Mogadishu hotel, officials said, in what again tested the competence of the current administration to contain the Al-Shabaab militants, who are wreaking havoc in the country.

The attack, officials said, started at around 7:55 pm local time, with a number of militants storming the highly fortified facility, holding a number of civilians hostage. The Pearl Hotel is frequented by high-ranking government officials, security experts said.

At least nine people were killed including six civilians, the government said, adding that three soldiers were also killed while trying to rescue several civilians who were held hostage.

The attack left 10 people seriously injured, the government said in a statement which comes several hours after the siege ended. According to officials, 84 people have been rescued including children, women, and elders.

The government said at least seven Al-Shabaab militants were involved in the attack, with five of them falling to the bullet after a crackdown by the military. The siege ended at 2:am local time on Saturday, the government added, noting that the battle lasted for 12 hours.

The militants claimed they killed over 36 people, but their assertions could not be verified independently, given that the militants often exaggerate the numbers for mileage.

This is the second time the militants are killing several people in the country, given the recent attack at an Uganda People's Defense Forces [UPDF] Forward Operating Base [FOB], which left 54 soldiers dead.

The Al-Shabaab militants however claimed that 137 soldiers were killed. Al-Shabaab militants have been fighting to control the leadership of the country but sustained military campaigns have neutralized them.

The Somali National Army [SNA] is expected to take over security responsibilities from foreign nations in the coming months and the attack could be a huge setback.


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