Somali forces rescue 82, neutralise militants in SYL hotel attack

Police confirmed death of two officers and three civilians

Gallant forces safely rescued close to 100 people trapped in the besieged SYL hotel Tuesday night as they battled Al-Shabaab militants who disguised themselves as Somali forces and made way into the heavily secured hotel located a stone-throw away from the President’s premise in Mogadishu.

Within the first hour into the siege which would last into the night, security forces managed to make way into the hotel and safely rescued at least 82 people according to Police Deputy Commissioner Zakia Hussein.

Police said in a statement Monday night two security forces and three civilians were killed in the attack while nine civilians and two security forces were injured.

The attack was a first major offensive by Al-Shabaab in several months but the manner in which the militants carried out the attack indicated a change of tact by the extremist group in light of heightened security in the city in several months.

The attackers drove in the pick-up truck commonly known as Abdi Bile and popular with Somali police and military. Sources said the militants, who were all killed wore uniforms from the Somali forces. The two combined made it easy for them to make through the many roadblocks including one near the Lower House building.

According to multiple sources, the militants alighted after entering the SYL building and started firing indiscriminately. Some people managed to jump over into the nearby Berta Nabada garden.

Security forces battled the militants way into the night and by midnight, gunfire and explosions could still be heard from the scene.

Police warned of possible other attacks in the city and the Shabelle region calling for vigilance.

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