Mogadishu attacked again


An Islamist attack on a hotel in Mogadishu ended on Sunday after 29 people were killed during a 12 hour siege police said.

The attack proved again insurgents can carry out deadly assaults in the heart of the Somali capital. Twin bombings in Mogadishu two weeks ago killed more than 350 people, the worst such attacks in the country’s history.

The Islamist militant al Shabaab claimed responsibility for this weekend’s attack. Government responded by sacking two top security officials.
“So far I am sure 29 people died – the death toll may rise,” Abdullahi Nur, a police officer, told Reuters.

At least 12 of the dead were police officers, Nur said. And a woman, Madobe Nunow, was beheaded while her “three children were shot dead,” he said.

A Reuters witness saw seven bodies inside the hotel.

Three militants were captured alive and two others blew themselves up after they were shot, police said. Some militants may have disguised themselves and escaped with rescued resident, a police officer said.

The attack began around at 5pm on Saturday when a car bomb rammed the gates of Nasahablod Two hotel, close to the presidential palace destroying the hotel’s defences. Then gunmen stormed the building.

The explosion destroyed the front of the three-storey hotel and damaged the hotel next door. Many Somali officials live in fortified hotels for security reasons.

Government sacked the country’s police commander, Abdihakin Dahir Saiid, and the director general of the National Intelligence Security Agency, Abdullahi Mohamed Ali, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Amin ambulances, complained the emergency service was denied access to the blast site.
“After the hotel operation was over, we wanted to transport casualties … all entrances to the scene were blocked by security forces.”

Al Shabaab said 40 people were killed, including three of its fighters who stormed the hotel. Government and al Shabaab typically give different figures for victims in such attacks.

The twin bombings in Mogadishu on October 14 killed at least 358 people, the worst such attacks in the country’s history, igniting nationwide outrage. Al Shabaab has not claimed responsibility for that attack, but the method – a large truck bomb – is one it has often used.

The militant group wants to overthrow the UN-backed government and impose a strict form of Islamic law.