Al-Shabaab militants kill nine in hotel siege in Somalia’s capital

By Niamh Kennedy and Amarachi Orie, CNN

CNN  —  Six civilians and three security force members were killed in a late-night attack by militant fighters on a beachside hotel in the Somalian capital Mogadishu, state media report.

Security forces responded to reports of an attack by Al-Shabaab militant fighters on the Pearl Beach Hotel in Lido Beach late Friday, killing the four attackers, according the Somali National News Agency (SONNA)

The forces rescued 84 civilians from the hotel, receiving praise from the government for their “swift and effective response,” SONNA reported.

As well as shattered window panes, blood and debris from the restaurant could be seen Saturday on the street at the site of the attack.

The onslaught follows a deadly attack by Al-Shabaab on an African Union military base in Somalia, roughly 120 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu, late last month in which at least 54 Ugandan soldiers were killed, according to Ugandan officials.

Shattered window panes could be seen at the site of the attack, as well as blood stains and debris.

Al-Shabaab is the largest and most active al-Qaeda network in the world, according to the US Africa Command. The group controlled a vast area of Somalia before being pushed back by government counteroffensives since last year, according to Reuters.

However, the militants continue to launch lethal attacks across the country with the aim of toppling the central government and establishing a rule based on its strict interpretation of Islam’s Sharia law.

US forces have conducted numerous strikes in Somalia that have resulted in dozens of Al-Shabaab casualties, including one that killed 30 Al-Shabaab fighters in January, and three others in February that killed a total of 24 soldiers.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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