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Somalia’s Villa Rose Attacked, At Least Four Killed In Hotel Siege

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Somali defense is making all efforts to take control of a hotel seized by militants in the middle of the capital, Mogadishu, on Sunday evening.

In the operation that lasted more than 12 hours, at least four people have been killed and many others injured.

British broadcaster BBC reported that witnesses said that they heard multiple explosions and heavy gunfire released from the popular Villa Rose hotel near the presidential palace.

al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda associated group, claimed the responsibility for the attack.

The Villa Rose Guest hotel is a favorite among government officials and various ministers have confirmed their safety.

Mohamed Ahmed, one of the targetted ministers, is reportedly injured and another, Environment Minister Adam Aw Hirsi, said to the media that he had survived the attack.

Al-Shabab has persisted in its attacks in central and southern Somalia despite recently retaken territory by government troops assisted by African Union forces and local militias.

The British news agency, Reuters quoted police as saying that the militants involved were armed with heavy explosives and guns. An eyewitness shared hearing “a huge blast, followed by a heavy exchange of gunfire”. The agency quoted Ahmed Abdullahi, a resident living close by, as saying, “We were shaken. We are just indoors, listening to gunfire.”

Some government officials found windows to escape and hence were rescued, informed police officer Mohammed Abdi. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vowed “total war” against the Islamist militants following an attack on another popular Mogadishu hotel.

At least 100 people were murdered in twin car bomb explosions in Mogadishu two months later, close to a busy intersection. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the assault as well.

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