Al-Shabab militants storm hotel in Somalia

A general view from December 2021 shows a deserted street in front of the presidential palace in Mogadishu

A hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, where government officials are known to stay, has come under attack.

Soon after the attack at Villa Rose began, Environment Minister Adam Aw Hirsi said he had survived the attack.

There were also unconfirmed reports that Mohamed Ahmed, Somalia’s internal security minister, was injured.

Al-Shabab militants said they had stormed the hotel. The Islamist group has been active in Somalia for more than 15 years.

The Villa Rose hotel, where the ambush took place, is a short walk from the presidential palace in central Mogadishu.

An unknown number of assailants, armed with explosives and guns, were involved, police officers told Reuters news agency.

One eyewitness described hearing a “huge blast, followed by a heavy exchange of gunfire”.

“We were shaken,” Ahmed Abdullahi, who lives close to the scene, told the news agency. “We are just indoors, listening to gunfire.”

Some government officials were rescued from Villa Rose after using windows to escape, Mohammed Abdi, one of the police officers, said.

In August, three months after taking office, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud pledged “total war” against the Islamist militants following an attack on another popular Mogadishu hotel. More than 20 people died.

Two months later, twin car bomb explosions near a busy junction in Mogadishu killed at least 100 people. Al-Shabab claimed responsivity for that, too.

President Mohamud subsequently mobilised the Somali army and government-backed clan militias in a bid to take villages and towns from al-Shabab, which controls large swathes of the country.

The militant group’s central aim is to topple Somalia’s government and establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s