Mogadishu: At least four people have been killed and dozens more injured after jihadist militants attacked a popular hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.
Witnesses told the BBC they heard multiple explosions and heavy gunfire coming from the Villa Rose hotel near the presidential palace.
Security forces are battling to regain control of the building after it was stormed on Sunday evening. The Al Qaeda affiliated group al-Shabab said it carried out the attack, BBC reported.
The Villa Rose Guest hotel is popular with government officials and several ministers have confirmed being rescued.
At least one minister, Mohamed Ahmed, is reported to have been injured while another, Environment Minister Adam Aw Hirsi, told reporters he had survived the attack.
Al-Shabab has continued to carry out attacks in central and southern Somalia despite recent government troops backed by African Union forces and local militias retaking areas previously captured by the group.
An unknown number of assailants, armed with explosives and guns, were involved, police officers said.
One eyewitness described hearing a “huge blast, followed by a heavy exchange of gunfire”.
Some government officials were rescued from Villa Rose after using windows to escape, said police officer Mohammed Abdi, BBC reported.
In August, three months after taking office, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud pledged “total war” against the Islamist militants following an attack on another popular Mogadishu hotel. More than 20 people died.