Po­lice, in­tel­li­gence chiefs fired af­ter deadly at­tack

The Daily Courier - - WORLD - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

Bomb­ing, shootout at ho­tel in So­mali cap­i­tal leaves 23 peo­ple dead

MO­GADISHU, So­ma­lia — Se­cu­rity forces ended an overnight siege by mil­i­tants Sun­day at a ho­tel in So­ma­lia’s cap­i­tal af­ter a bomb­ing and shootout that killed 23 peo­ple, and the gov­ern­ment fired its po­lice and in­tel­li­gence chiefs amid the con­tin­u­ing ex­trem­ist at­tacks.

The cabi­net ac­tion fol­lowed a rec­om­men­da­tion by Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Mo­hamed Abukar Is­low. It came hours af­ter the end of the at­tack on the Nasa-Hablod Ho­tel and two weeks af­ter more than 350 peo­ple were killed in a mas­sive truck bomb­ing on a busy Mo­gadishu street in So­ma­lia’s worst-ever at­tack.

The blood­shed has shaken pub­lic con­fi­dence in the abil­ity of the mil­i­tary to pro­tect the cap­i­tal, and many So­ma­lis blame the gov­ern­ment for not do­ing enough.

“We are dy­ing in hun­dreds now,” said res­i­dent Ahmed­nur Hashi. “Who is go­ing to pro­tect us?”

Al-Shabab, Africa’s dead­li­est Is­lamic ex­trem­ist group, claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the lat­est at­tack, which be­gan Satur­day af­ter­noon when a truck bomb ex­ploded out­side the pop­u­lar ho­tel. The blast twisted ve­hi­cles and caused mas­sive dam­age to nearby build­ings that were left with only their walls stand­ing.

The mil­i­tants in­vaded the ho­tel and gun­fire con­tin­ued as se­cu­rity forces fought them in­side the build­ing. Two more blasts were heard, in­clud­ing one in which an at­tacker det­o­nated a vest of ex­plo­sives.

Troops re­gained con­trol of the ho­tel af­ter killing three at­tack­ers and cap­tur­ing two oth­ers, said Capt. Mo­hamed Hus­sein.

Salim Aliyow Ibrow, the min­is­ter of elec­tric­ity and wa­ter, was res­cued from the ho­tel amid the shoot­ing. Some ex­trem­ists threw grenades and cut off the build­ing’s elec­tric­ity as night fell.

Among the dead were a mother and three chil­dren, in­clud­ing a baby, all shot in the head, Hus­sein said. Other vic­tims in­cluded a se­nior po­lice colonel, a for­mer law­maker and a for­mer gov­ern­ment min­is­ter.

The truck bomber pre­tended his ve­hi­cle had bro­ken down be­fore he det­o­nated it in front of the ho­tel’s for­ti­fied gate, said po­lice Col. Mo­hamed Ab­dul­lahi.

The U.S. mis­sion in So­ma­lia con­demned the at­tack, say­ing the U.S. “re­mains com­mit­ted to work with our So­mali, African Union and in­ter­na­tional part­ners to de­grade and de­feat ter­ror­ism as So­ma­lia con­tin­ues on a path to sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity for its peo­ple.”

The As­so­ci­ated Press

Res­cue work­ers stand near the wreck­age of ve­hi­cles in Mo­gadishu, So­ma­lia, on Sun­day. A truck bomb was det­o­nated Satur­day night.

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