Reports from Somalia say the nation’s special forces have ended an operation at a hotel in the capital city Mogadishu to put an end to a siege by members of Al-Shabab, an Islamist militant group active across East Africa for much of the last 16 years.
It is believed that along with the militants – all of whom were killed according to local media sources, around 10 others lost their lives. This number is not yet confirmed.
The siege unfolded when the militants exploded a bomb outside the Elite Hotel on Sunday local time before entering the premises to seize hostages.
Reports of the initial explosion spread on social media and soon after Somali security forces locked the area down.
Initial then periodic exchanges of small arms fire was heard over the next four hours before a Somali government spokesman, Ismael Mukhtaar Omar, took to Twitter to say the security forces had ended the siege and that all militants involved were dead.
The hotel is said to be popular with local and national government officials and one senior official from the nation’s information ministry is said to be among the dead according to reports.
In recent years the group, long linked to Al Qaeda, has been largely forced to retreat from the capital of Somalia but sporadic attacks do still occur, including one incident a week ago that led to the deaths of 20 people at a prison in the city where a number of Al-Shabab members were being held.