Crime & Justice

Hotel siege in Somalia ends with at least 21 dead

Mogadishu, Aug 21 (EFE).- At least 21 people have been killed in a 30-hour siege of a hotel in Somalia’s capital claimed by the al-Shabab group, the health minister reported on Sunday.

Some 117 people were treated for injuries, 15 of whom are in serious condition, minister Ali Haji Adan was quoted as saying by the Somali National Television (SNTV).

“The Ministry of Health has so far confirmed the deaths of 21 people and 117 people wounded,” Adan said.

The attack began on Friday night when fighters of the al-Shabab armed group stormed the Hayat hotel where they remained holed up for hours until they were killed by Somali forces, police chief Hassan Mohamed Hijaar told reporters

Somali troops ended the siege of the hotel Saturday night in an operation that lasted more than 30 hours, the official added.

Hijaar said 106 hostages, including women and children, were rescued from the Hayat.

A witness told independent Somali news agency Garowe Online that at least three explosions were heard near the hotel.

Video footage shared on Garowe’s Twitter feed showed a blast ripping through the top floor of the Hayat.

The attack has been condemned by Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and the United Nations.

For the time being, the country’s president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, elected last May, has made no statement about this attack.

Al Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack saying that its fighters committed suicide in the assault on the hotel.

Al-Shabab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, aims to expel all foreign forces from Somalia and establish a strict Islamic state.

Somalia has been in a state of upheaval since 1991 when the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre left the country without an effective government and vulnerable to Islamic militants, warlords and criminal groups. EFE


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