Home South Africa Gunfire heard in besieged Somalia hotel, parliament adjourned – SABC News

Gunfire heard in besieged Somalia hotel, parliament adjourned – SABC News

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Gunfire could be heard Monday from a besieged hotel in Somalia’s capital, which was attacked over the weekend, nearby residents and a police officer said, as parliament said it had postponed a scheduled session.

The Villa Rose hotel, which is close to the presidential residence, was stormed on Sunday by gunmen and explosives from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group, with a police officer saying at the time that some government officials escaped through windows. .

“There is still heavy shooting inside the hotel and we hear explosions every now and then … we are still in our houses since last night when the siege started,” Ismail Haaji, who lives near the hotel, told Reuters.

Special forces units known as Gaashaan and Haramcad have taken over the operations, said a police officer at the scene, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The militants who launched the attack are still fighting inside the hotel and they are fighting with Kharamkad and Gaoshan forces while the security forces are trying to rescue the people who are trapped inside the hotel,” the officer added.

The number of people killed in the siege and the number of people rescued were not yet clear.

Government officials in Mogadishu often use the Villa Rosa Hotel for meetings.

Somalia’s parliament said it had postponed a scheduled meeting of both houses.

“All deputies of both councils are informed that today’s scheduled meeting is being postponed,” says a message on the Facebook page.

Al-Shabaab, which seeks to overthrow the government and establish its own rule based on an extreme interpretation of the law, often carries out attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was elected this year, launched a military offensive against the group.

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