A terrorists attack on a hotel in Mogadishu ended on Sunday after 29 people were killed during a siege lasting nearly 12 hours, police said.
The attack proved once again that 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 militants al Shabaab claimed responsibility for this weekend’s attack. The government responded by sacking two of the country’s top security officials.
“So far I am sure 29 people died - the death toll may rise,” a police officer, Abdullahi Nur said.
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.
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 the residents who were rescued from the hotel, one police officer said.
The attack began around at 5 pm local time on Saturday when a car bomb rammed the gates of Nasahablod Two hotel, which is close to the presidential palace, and destroyed the hotel’s defences. Then gunmen stormed the building.
The 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.