Al-Shabab militants stormed a hotel in the Somali capital on Friday in brazen attack, sparking heavy gunbattle with troops that left at least 20 people and wounded dozens others, officials said on Saturday.
The standoff which lasted more than 20 hours ended after the death of all attackers. Their number remains unclear. The assailants who took many as hostages in the Maka Almukarama hotel have reportedly executed
most of them, increasing the number of causalities from the attack.
Somalia’s special forces have ended the stalemate on Saturday morning, rescuing some hostages during a decisive battle with the militants who repelled several attempts by troops to access the hotel, by throwing
grenades and firing at soldiers from dark rooms.
The dead included Yusuf Bari Bari, Somalia’s representative to UN rights commission based in Geneva and a consultant with the Somalia’s central bank.
The Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab group which claimed the responsibility for the attack said they targeted ‘apostates’ at the hotel, which has seen the third attack from the group.
The attack started with a suicide car bomb which blew off the hotel’s gate, followed by walking infantry fighters who took positions inside the hotel, frequented by government officials and the city’s elites.
Witnesses told HOL that the attackers killed anyone they came across inside the hotel. Somalia’s president has condemned the attack which highlights the security challenges the government faces despite the ouster of the Islamist fighters from the capital and surrounding regions.
The Al-Shabab group which once ruled almost the entire capital wages a guerilla attack across Somalia, targeting government and African Union officials.
Hospital sources said some of the wounded have succumbed to their wounds in the hospital, suggesting a possible increasing in the death toll from the attack