Soldiers arrested as Somalia’s president orders probe into hotel attack


MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – A number of soldiers manning security checkpoints near the presidential palace were arrested after Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud ordered a thorough probe into a recent Al-Shabaab hotel attack in Mogadishu, Caasimada Online news website reported on Wednesday.

Mohamud instructed the National Intelligence and Security Agency to give an immediate explanation about how Al-Shabaab suicide bombers and gunmen were able pass through dozens of security checkpoints and evade detection before attacking a highly-fortified hotel next to his residence on Sunday night.

A number of commanders and soldiers have since been arrested amid ongoing investigation.

Al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage said on Tuesday they had killed 52 people and wounded 39 others in the attack at Villa Rose Hotel, adding that ministers, deputy ministers and ministerial directors were among the casualties.

Somali State Minister of Environment Adam Aw Hersi, who escaped the assault, said the attackers “sprayed bullets in my bedroom.”

Reports by local media and later confirmed by the Speaker of Parliament suggested that the Internal Security Minister wounded after jumping from the hotel to escape shooting inside the compound.

The attack underscores Al-Shabaab’s ability to stage deadly attacks in the presidential palace and its surroundings, the most secure and highly fortified area of the city’s green-zone.

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