Somali forces end siege of hotel by Al Shabaab

Somali security forces have ended a deadly hours-long siege by Al Shabaab militants who stormed a popular hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, overnight, the national police spokesman said on Monday, adding that eight people had been killed in the attack. 

“The clearance operation in the Villa Rose hotel has ended, we will give the details later,” Sadik Dudishe, a spokesman for the Somali national police, told reporters.

Gunfire and explosions were heard for more than 12 hours after the militants stormed the Villa Rose hotel near the presidential palace in a hail of bullets.

Mohamed Dahir, an official from the national security agency, told AFP the gunmen had been holed up in a room at the hotel surrounded by government forces.

Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab militants stormed the hotel on Sunday using guns and explosives, with a police officer saying at the time some government officials escaped from its windows.

Government officials in Mogadishu frequently use the Villa Rose hotel for meetings.

Somalia’s parliament said it had postponed a scheduled session for both of its houses.

“All members of parliament of both councils are being informed that today’s scheduled meeting has been postponed,” it said in a statement on its Facebook page.

Al Shabaab, which is seeking to topple the government and establish its own rule based on an extreme interpretation of Islamic law, frequently stages attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was elected this year, has launched a military offensive against the group. – AFP and Reuters

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