Somalia’s parliament postponed session following Al-Shabaab attack
Somalia’s parliament on Monday postponed a scheduled session as gunfire could still be heard inside a besieged Mogadishu hotel.
Gunfire was heard from the Villa Rose hotel, near the presidential residence, on Monday.
The Villa Rose was invaded last night at astound 8pm by fighters from al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked armed group, using guns and explosives, with a police saying at the time that some government officials escaped from its windows.
Special forces units, known as Gaashaan and Haramcad, had taken over operations, a police officer at the scene said on condition of anonymity.
The number of casualties from the siege and the number of people rescued was not yet clear.
Government officials in Mogadishu frequently use the Villa Rosa hotel for meetings.
The House of the People of the Federal Government of Somalia officially resumed sittings mid this month after a two month recess.
The sitting was the second meeting of the assembly which went for a break shortly after electing the President of the Republic of Somalia and approving the Prime Minister and his cabinet.
Somalia’s parliament said it had postponed a scheduled session for both of its houses.
The Hotel is just adjacent to the national assembly and Villa Somalia which houses the President and the Prime Minister.
Al-Shabab, which is seeking to topple the government and establish its own rule based on an extreme interpretation of Islamic law, frequently stages attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.
Al-Shabaab fighters carry out such attacks in Mogadishu and other parts of the Horn of Africa nation.
The attack comes as the government is engaged in an “all-out war” against the al-Shabab group.
The new strategy, in place since July, has already led to some gains in two regions in central Somalia.
Since 2007 the al-Qaeda affiliated group has been fighting the government and trying to establish Islamic law in the country.
The group has carried out numerous attacks in retaliation to offensives carried by the Somali Army with the support of local allied militia and international partners in many parts of the country.
The deadliest attack by the group on October 29th targeting the busy Zoobe Junction led to the death of more than 120 while 333 others were wounded.