Somali security forces ended a nearly one-day siege by al-Shabab militants after successfully charging into the Villa Rose Hotel in the capital, Mogadishu. The militants killed eight people at the building near the president’s residence, police said.
Explosions and gunfire could be continuously heard from inside the hotel on Monday while the security forces fought the militants more than 12 hours after the armed group forcefully entered the building.
According to a police spokesperson, 60 civilians had been rescued. Many government officials had stomped the nearest doors and windows to escape after being impounded in the hotel after a suicide bomber caught them during their evening prayers and a gun battle ensued.
The attack accentuated the armed capability of the group closely associated with al-Qaeda to perform lethal attacks with even high casualties occasionally at crucial places like the capital. The attack comes at a time when President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s government has staked his full force against them.
Security Forces Kill Militants
The police spokesperson, Sadik Aden Ali, while informing about the details of the operation, said, “The operation at the hotel Rose has been concluded.” He added that the armed group had killed eight civilians and that a soldier had also died in the siege, while five soldiers were injured. Giving details of the operation, Ali said that six al-Shabab fighters had been engaged in the attack, among which one was a suicide bomber who killed himself and five others were killed by the forces.
Al-Shabab, which governs large portions of the nation, took credit for the attack and declared in a statement that it was directed at the neighboring presidential palace.
How government officials escaped to safety
Government officials in Mogadishu frequently hold their meetings in the Villa Rose. While some have the hotel as their residents.
Somalia’s environment minister Adam Aw Hirsi, who survived the attack, explained that a suicide bomber made a deafening explosion that started the hotel attack after which fighters came forward to violate the territory of the heavily guarded hotel.