9 killed in seven-hour siege at popular Hotel Afrik in Mogadishu
Somalia’s government announced the end of a seven-hour deadly siege at Hotel Afrik in Mogadishu Sunday night, which left nine people dead.
Mohamed Nur Galal, a well-known retired general and former defense minister, was among those confirmed killed in the attack.
The hotel, located along a strategic road linking downtown Mogadishu with the international airport, is frequented by politicians, lawmakers and senior civil servants.
Security forces were able to rescue dozens of people from the hotel during the siege. Militant group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and the country’s prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, sent condolences following Galal’s death.
Both leaders urged Somali people to unite against the terrorist group of al-Shabab.
A car bomb exploded near the hotel early Sunday, beginning a shootout between militants and security forces.
Police said all four al-Shabab militants who stormed Hotel Afrik were killed.
Many of the people inside were rescued, including Somalia’s former state minister for defense, Yusuf Siad Indha-Adde.
A VOA reporter, Abdikafi Yusuf Aden, was also inside the hotel at the time and survived.
“There was confusion and thick smoke rose up after the blast occurred. People were jumping down over the wall as we ran for our lives,” Aden told VOA Somali.
Aden said he saw at least three people injured where he was hiding but was unable to confirm what happened outside or on the other side of the hotel.