Four Dead As Al-Shabaab Militants Lay Siege On Hotel In Somali Capital

al shabaab
Al Shabaab soldiers patrol in formation along the streets of Dayniile district in Southern Mogadishu, March 5, 2012. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

 

At least four people were killed in an ongoing attack by Al-Shabaab militants who laid siege to a popular hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu overnight, a security agency official told AFP on Monday.

Gunfire and explosions could still be heard more than 12 hours after the militants stormed the hotel near the presidential palace in a hail of bullets.

Mohamed Dahir, an official from the national security agency, told AFP the gunmen were holed up in a room at the Villa Rose surrounded by government forces.

“So far we have confirmed the death of four people”, he said, adding that others had been rescued from the besieged venue.

“Very soon the situation will return to normal.”

Government officials were among others injured, he added.

The Villa Rose is frequented by MPs and located in a secure central part of the capital just a few blocks from the office of Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Al-Shabaab, a militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda that has been trying to overthrow Somalia’s central government for 15 years, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police said the gunmen rushed into the hotel in Bondhere district at around 8:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Sunday and an operation was under way to “eliminate” them.

More than 12 hours later, witnesses near the scene described still hearing loud explosions and gunfire.

“I saw several military vehicles with special forces heading towards the hotel, and a few minutes later, there was heavy gunfire and explosions,” said local witness Mahad Yare.

In a statement late Sunday, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), a 20,000-strong military force drawn from across the continent, praised the “swift” security response to the attack.

On its website the Villa Rose describes the hotel as the “most secure lodging arrangement in Mogadishu” with metal detectors and a high perimeter wall.

Retaliatory attacks

Al-Shabaab has intensified attacks against civilian and military targets as Somalia’s recently-elected government has pursued a policy of “all-out war” against the Islamists.

The security forces, backed by local militias, ATMIS and US air strikes, have driven Al-Shabaab from central parts of the country in recent months, but the offensive has drawn retribution.

On October 29, two cars packed with explosives blew up minutes apart in Mogadishu followed by gunfire, killing at least 121 people and injuring 333 others.

It was the deadliest attack in the fragile Horn of Africa nation in five years.

At least 21 people were killed in a siege on a Mogadishu hotel in August that lasted 30 hours before security forces were able to overpower the militants inside.

The UN said earlier this month that at least 613 civilians had been killed and 948 injured in violence this year in Somalia, mostly caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) attributed to Al-Shabaab.

The figures were the highest since 2017 and a more-than 30-percent rise from last year.

NAFDAC Destroys Fake Goods Worth N500 Million

TNAFDAChe Director General of National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii, has commended drug traders at the Bridge Head market, Onitsha, Anambra state, for voluntarily regulating themselves against importation and distribution of fake drugs and substandard food products in the state.

Dr. Orhii said this during the destruction exercise of fake and substandard drugs with other food products worth about N500 million in Awka, Anambra state capital.

According to the NAFDAC Director General, some of the fake drugs destroyed were voluntarily surrendered by the Onitsha traders.

At ASWAMA dump site, Agu Awka, the venue for the destruction exercise, Dr. Orhii, was present with other officials and many high ranking officers of other security agencies in the state including the Police, Immigration, Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC and Civil Defense.

Dr Orhii said the support of the security agencies in the war against fake, substandard drugs and food products could not be overemphasized adding that NAFDAC would not renege in its war against fake drugs as they are battling the reintroduction of such products into the market on daily basis.

Dr. Paul commended the drug traders at the Bridge Head Market, Onitsha, on their resolve to voluntarily regulate themselves and monitor any incidence of fake drugs circulation among them in the market.

The Director General of NAFDAC added that the reason for burning the dangerous products is to ensure they do not go back into circulation in any way or form again.

Ghana: Jonathan & Buhari Billboards Removed For Security Concerns

jona buhaThe campaign billboards of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate and Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress’ presidential candidate which were located on different roads in Accra, Ghana, have been pulled down for security  reasons.

The Ghana’s National Security Agency ordered that the billboards be removed, showing concerns for the welfare of the citizens.

Kwesi Annin, a security expert at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, reportedly implied that by pulling down the billboards, the country is being preserved from a possible attack by terrorist group, Boko Haram.

Kwesi Annin also stated that the precautionary action taken by the country was to promote the peaceful relationship between Ghana and Nigeria, not making it seem as favouring one party over the other.

Also, he said the decision was taken based on the consideration on whether  the law permits foreign political entities to campaign in Ghana.

Quality Of Policing Is Determined By Government — Criminologist

A professor of criminology from the University of Jos, Etannibi Alemika has said  that the quality of governance in a country is what determines the quality of police and policing available in a society.

Professor  Alemika who has been a member of one of the police reform committee since 2006 said the police cannot be reformed independently without reforming the polity as the security body is derived from the polity

‘The starting point for us should be, we cannot reform the police independent of the polity because the direction for policing is derived from the polity, and the quality of governance determines the quality of policing and police in the society”

 

Watch complete interview for more details.