Somalia’s al Shabaab militants stormed a hotel in the capital of the semi-autonomous Puntland region, Bosasso, on Wednesday, killing four guards, while two of the attackers also died, a senior official said.
“Three al Shabaab fighters stormed the International Village Hotel this morning. Four guards and two of the attackers died in the fighting,” Yusuf Mohamed, the governor of Bari region, told Reuters.
The hotel in the port city of Bosasso, which is also the capital of Bari region, is popular with foreigners.
“Fortunately, the attackers did not enter the rooms. The fighting took place inside the compound. A third fighter escaped and we are pursuing him. All the people in the hotel are safe,” Mohamed said.
Until 2011, the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab controlled most of Somalia including the capital, Mogadishu.
In the past two years, African Union and Somali government forces have forced al Shabaab out of important urban strongholds but it remains active from bases in rural areas.
Its militants often stage bomb and gun attacks in the capital and other regions in their quest to overthrow the Western-backed government and impose their own strict interpretation of sharia, Islamic law, on the nation.
Somalia’s lawmakers are due to elect a president later on Wednesday in Mogadishu.
(Reporting by Abdiqani Hassan; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Robert Birsel)