Somali forces end 30-hour hotel siege, army officer says

At least 12 people, mostly civilians, were killed as Somalia’s elite armed forces battled al Qaeda-linked militants for 30 hours after they blasted and shot their way into the Hayat Hotel on Friday evening.
A Somali security officer walks past a section of Hotel Hayat
A Somali security officer walks past a section of Hotel Hayat

MOGADISHU: Somali forces have ended a siege at a hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, an army officer told Reuters on Sunday, adding that they were still clearing explosives scattered around the building.

At least 12 people, mostly civilians, were killed as Somalia’s elite armed forces battled al Qaeda-linked militants for 30 hours after they blasted and shot their way into the Hayat Hotel on Friday evening.

“We are still investigating the explosions of many plastic bags that have been scattered around the hotel,” said Mohamed Ali, a military officer at the scene.

The French news agency Agence France-Presse earlier reported that all the gunmen had been killed, citing a security commander.

Friday’s attack was the first such major incident since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in May.

The al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Al Shabaab has been fighting to topple the Somali government for more than 10 years. It wants to establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

The Hayat is a hotel popular among lawmakers and other government officials.

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