MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Somali military has successfully ended a hostage drama that lasted nearly two days by the militant group Al-Shabaab that captured a hotel in the capital Mogadishu.
The matter was confirmed by a military commander to AFP news agency around midnight on Saturday.
At least 13 civilians have been killed and dozens wounded since al-Qaeda-affiliated militants opened fire and launched a bomb attack on the Hayat Hotel on Friday night.
“Security forces ended the siege of Al-Shabaab and the group of armed attackers was killed. No more shots were heard from inside the building in the last hour,” said the commander, whose identity was withheld.
However, he did not provide further information on the total number of casualties, survivors or the number of Al-Shabaab members who died while saying the government would provide an official press briefing in the near future.
The commander added that work to clear the building of any explosives that may have been planted by the terrorists still needs to be done.
The incident was the biggest attack in Mogadishu since Somalia’s new president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in June.
The Hayat Hotel, which is a popular accommodation for government officials, was destroyed after security forces demolished it with heavy weapons yesterday evening in an attempt to defeat the attackers hiding there.
Witnesses to the incident said they saw fire engulfing the hotel during the bombardment by security forces.
Although government officials said dozens of people, including children, had been rescued, it was not known how many victims were still inside the hotel when the siege ended. – AFP