Somalia: Survivor recounts hotel siege that killed family members

Somalia
By Staff Reporter , Garowe Online
People stand outside Nasa-Hablod 2 hotel in Mogadishu after Al Shabaab raid Oct 29, 2017 (Photo Credit: Garowe Online)

MOGADISHU, Somalia - A victim of a bloody siege at a popular hotel in Mogadishu has recounted the terrifying moment he came face-to-face with the terrorists, Garowe Online reports.

At least five attackers stormed Nasa-Hablod 2 hotel at around 5:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and took guests as hostages after detonating two car bombs at the main gate of the building in Mogadishu.

More than 27 people, including high-profile people, regional Minister and former MP were killed, and dozens wounded in the night-long attack by militants at the hotel, according to the Security Ministry.

Among the dead were four victims from the same family: three children aged 6 months, 9 months and 3 years old, and their grandmother. A 6-year-old child survived the attack.

The boy's father recounted the horrific experience.

The man, who asked not to be me named because of security concerns, is a 29-year-old university student. He and his brother took their wives and children to see the children's grandparents at the hotel.

The first explosion caused chaos in the hotel. He and his brother were in the cafeteria with their father at the time of the explosion. They ran upstairs to find the children and the rest of the family on the second floor.

As the gunmen attacked, “We discussed what we do? Should we help the mother to jump the window? Then we thought it’s not possible; at that point, a grenade landed near us and we ran into the room,” he said.

Al-Shabab fighters followed them, shooting and throwing bombs. “They were throwing a bomb into each room followed by a hail of bullets,” the man said.

His wife called out his name, and then his son. He told them to get back in the room. The man and three other residents hid in a bathroom. In another room, gunmen wounded his wife and killed their 6-month-old son.

Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the carnage, according to its military operations spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab, saying they killed 70 people, including Intelligence officials and 2 Turkish nationals.

The came two weeks after more than 377 people were killed, and 228 wounded in a massive truck bombing on Zoobe junction, a busy Mogadishu street in Somalia's worst-ever attack.

VOA has contributed to this report.