At least nine people have been killed in an attack by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab militants against a government office complex in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Senior police officer Captain Mohamed Hussein said attackers stormed the Somali Ministry of Higher Education on Tuesday after a bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle at the gate of the complex, opening the way for gunmen to enter.
The building is in the K5 district of the capital, which has been hit by a string of similar attacks in recent months.
On March 28, Somali government forces wrested control of the Maka al-Mukarama Hotel in Mogadishu, hours after a confrontation with al-Shabab gunmen who had stormed the hotel the previous day.
An injured youth is carried away from the scene of a car bomb attack and armed raid by the al-Shabab militants on the Maka al-Mukarama Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, March 27, 2015. © AFP
Somali officials said at least 20 people, including Somalia’s Ambassador to Switzerland Yusuf Mohamed Ismail Baribari, were killed and nearly 30 injured when members of the militant group attacked the hotel.
Another 50 were rescued from the hotel early Saturday. All five attackers were also killed.
Maka al-Mukarama Hotel is popular with politicians, and members of parliament. This was the fourth time it came under attack.
Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke faces an uphill battle to rein in corruption, defeat the al-Shabab extremists and rebuild the war-ravaged Somalia, which has been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab since 2006.
The militants have been pushed out of Mogadishu and other major cities in the country by government forces and the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), which is largely made up of troops from Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, and Kenya.