It never ends. No matter what part of the world, gun violence is wreaking havoc on innocent lives every day. The most recent attack occurred today [Saturday, June 25], when gunmen stormed a hotel in the Somalia’s seaside capital of Mogadishu, taking guests hostage and “shooting at everyone they could see,” before security forces pursued the grenade-throwing assailants to the top floor and ended the hours-long assault. At least 14 people are confirmed dead.
Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the latest in a series of hotel attacks in Mogadishu, which began with a powerful explosion at the entrance gate.
“We have finally ended the siege,” police Captain Mohamed Hussein said, after security forces cornered the gunmen, who had set up sniper posts on the roof of the Nasa-Hablod hotel. Police said at least four gunmen were involved in the attack, and two were killed.
“We have so far confirmed the deaths of 14 people. Some of them died in the hospitals,” Hussein said. The deaths included women who were selling khat, a stimulant leaf popular with Somali men, outside the hotel, he said.
Security forces rescued most of the hostages, although it was unclear whether any were killed. Police and medical workers said another nine people were wounded in the assault.
A witness, Ali Mohamud, said the attackers randomly shot at guests. “They were shooting at everyone they could see. I escaped through the back door,” he said.
The African Union force faces shrinking resources after the European Union recently cut its funding to the AU mission in Somalia by 20 percent. Uganda’s military chief said Friday, June 24, his country plans to withdraw more than 6,000 troops from the AU force in Somalia by December 2017.