Armed members of the extremist group Al Shabaab attacked a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Sunday evening (local time). Villa Rose is a popular place for Somali politicians. It is not yet known how many victims there were. Environment Minister Adam Aw Hirsi said he survived the attack.
Al-Qaeda-linked organization Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. The target was the nearby presidential palace, according to a statement by the extremist group active in Somalia for 15 years. The perpetrators were carrying explosives and guns, police told the news agency Reuters.
The hotel, Villa Rose, is located in a highly guarded neighborhood of Bondhere in central Mogadishu. There are several ministries and other government buildings in that district.
Although the number of victims is not yet known, dozens of civilians and government officials were rescued from the hotel. The state broadcaster reports SNTV extension on Twitter. Some of them came out the windows to escape. It is unclear if and how many people are still trapped in the hotel. According to unconfirmed reports, the Secretary of Homeland Security was injured.
“We were caught in a huge explosion, followed by heavy gunfire. We were inside listening to the gunfire,” a man who lives near the hotel told the news agency. Reuters.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamuh was elected earlier this year. He is engaged in a military offensive against Al Shabaab. Hotels and tourists are most often targeted by Al Shabaab. In August, a deadly hostage-taking took place in a hotel in Mogadishu.