1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Assailants attack Hayat hotel in Mogadishu

August 19, 2022

Al-Shabab gunmen have taken control of a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Several explosions and gunfire were heard outside the building.

Smoke rises after a blast in Mogadishu
Smoke was seen billowing from the Hotel Hayat in Mogadishu Image: Abukar Mohamed Muhudin/AA/picture alliance

Al-Shabab fighters have taken control of a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Friday.

"Two car bombs targeted Hotel Hayat. One hit a barrier near the hotel, and then the other hit the gate of the hotel. We believe the fighters are inside the hotel," a police officer who gave his name as only Ahmed, told the Reuters news agency.

The assault triggered a fierce gunfight between security forces and the gunmen who were holed up inside the building, security official Abdukadir Hassan told the AFP news agency.

At least eight people were confirmed dead, Mohamed Abdikadir, a security commander, said. "The security forces continued to neutralize terrorists who have been cordoned inside a room in the hotel building, most of the people were rescued but at least eight civilians were confirmed dead so far," he said.

The director and founder of Mogadishu's Aamin ambulance services Abdikadir Abdirahman told Reuters that so far, nine wounded were taken from the hotel. 

Police officers were engaged in an operation aimed at stopping the attack, the state-run Somali National News Agency said on its Twitter account, citing a police spokesperson.

"The unsung heroes of Somali Police Special Unit have rescued many people from Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu as the security forces are dealing with terrorist incident," the agency later added.

Unverified images posted on social media show smoke billowing from the hotel that is a popular venue with lawmakers and other government officials. There are also reports of sporadic gunfire. 

Al-Shabab claims responsibility

The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi group statements.

"A group of Al-Shabaab attackers forcibly entered Hotel Hayat in Mogadishu, the fighters are carrying out random shooting inside the hotel," the terror group claimed online.

Al-Shabab attacks Mogadishu frequently and said it was behind an attack on another hotel in the capital in August 2020 in which at least 16 people were killed.

The militant group aims to topple the Somali government, and before a large-scale offensive against the militant group in 2011, it controlled most of the country.

Somalia's new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, said last month that ending Al-Shabab's insurgency required more than a military approach. But he added that his government would negotiate with the group only when the time is right.

ar, lo/sms (Reuters, AFP)