Gunfire heard inside besieged Somalia hotel, parliament session delayed

Reuters

Gunfire was heard on Monday from inside a besieged hotel in the Somali capital that was attacked on the weekend, a nearby resident and a police officer said, while parliament said it had postponed a scheduled session.

The Villa Rose hotel, near the presidential residence, was stormed on Sunday by attackers of al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, using guns and explosives, with a police officer saying at the time that some government officials escaped from its windows.

"There is still heavy gunfire inside the hotel and we hear explosions from time to time ... 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, had taken over operations, said a police officer at the scene who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The fighters who launched the attack are still fighting inside the hotel, and they are fighting with the forces of Haramcad and Gaashaan, and security forces are trying to rescue the people trapped inside the hotel," the officer added.

The number of casualties from the siege and the number of people rescued were not yet clear.

Government officials in Mogadishu frequently use the Villa Rosa hotel for meetings.

Somalia's parliament said it had postponed a scheduled session for both of its houses.

"All members of parliament of both councils are being informed that today's scheduled meeting has been postponed," it said in a statement on its Facebook page.

More from International

Coming Up on Dubai Eye

  • Off Script with Chris, Robbie & Sonal

    5:00pm - 7:00pm

    The UAE’s alternative take on news, entertainment and sport. Join Chris, Robbie and Sonal as they cut through the clutter to bring you the news, entertainment and sport stories that actually matter.

  • Extra Time

    7:00pm - 8:00pm

    Chris & Robbie bring you the latest from the sporting world plus interviews with upcoming and legendary sporting stars.

BUSINESS BREAKFAST LATEST

On Dubai Eye

  • Commuters will pay roughly 10 per cent more for fuel

    We find out what that means for us and for the global oil prices with Ed Bell of Emirates NBD and Matt Stanley of Kpler. Plus, we discuss the risks & rewards of the growing demand for second passports. And, we talk to Sky Kurtz of Pure Harvest Smart Farms about how UAE grown produce is going to Saudi Arabia.

  • STEM Learning

    The UAE's ambassador to Canada says developing STEM career paths for Emirati women should be a national priority.