At least eight people have been confirmed killed during an assault on a hotel in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, by Islamist militants, a security official said on Saturday, as Somali troops continued to engage gunmen holed up inside the property.
“The security forces continued to neutralise the terrorists who were sealed off within a room in the hotel building,” said Mohamed Abdikadir.
In a flurry of gunfire and bomb explosions, Al-Shabaab fighters assaulted the famous Hayat Hotel on Friday evening. Al-Shabaab is related to the terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda.
According to Abdikadir, who spoke with AFP, “the security forces rescued hundreds of people including children who were trapped in the building unharmed.”
The assault continued into the early hours of Saturday, with reports of intermittent gunfire and huge explosions heard in the region.
Outside of the hotel, dozens of people have gathered together in the hopes of finding out what happened to loved ones who were trapped inside the building.
“We have been searching for a relative of mine who was trapped inside the hotel; she was verified dead along with six other people, two of whom I know,” said a witness named Muudey Ali. “We have been looking for her for the last few hours.”