A gun battle continues to rage in Mogadishu between Somali soldiers and al-Shabab fighters, who carried out a daring raid and suicide attack on Thursday night that killed as many as 29 people.
Heavy gunfire was heard across the Somali capital through the night on Thursday, and it continued as Friday dawned.
At least 80 others were injured in the attack on Thursday near Hotel Maka al-Mukarama and a judge’s residence on a busy street in Mogadishu, according to a police commander.
In an interview with Reuters news agency, police officer Major Musa Ali placed the death toll at 29. AFP news agency, however, said the fatalities were at least 10, quoting Abdirahman Ali, a Somali national security officer.
Al-Shabab’s military spokesman said they still control the hotel.
“The government tried three times to enter the building but we repulsed them. We still control the hotel,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab’s military spokesman, told Reuters.
Many victims of Thursday’s attack suffered horrific injuries and hospitals were said to be struggling to cope with causalities.
Some of the wounded lost limbs, Sadiya Yusuf, a nurse at Daru Shifa, one of the hospitals treating victims, told AP news agency.
The Maka al-Mukarama hotel is frequently patronised by government officials, and al-Shabab has targeted it multiple times in past attacks that have killed scores of people.