The heads of Somalia’s police and national security have been sacked after a bomb targeting a hotel in the country’s capital claimed at least 29 lives, state radio reported on its website.

“Somalia’s police commander Gen. Abdihakin Saiid and Director-General of the National Intelligence Security Agency, Abdullahi Ali, have now been sacked after a cabinet meeting,” state radio reported.

An Islamist attack on a hotel in Mogadishu ended on Sunday after 29 people were killed during a siege lasting nearly 12 hours.

The attack proved once again that insurgents can carry out deadly assaults in the heart of the Somali capital.

Twin bombings in Mogadishu two weeks earlier killed more than 350 people, the worst such attacks in the country’s history.

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The Islamist militants al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the Saturday attack and government responded by sacking two of the country’s top security officials.

“So far, I am sure 29 people died, the death toll may rise,” Abdullahi Nur, a police officer, told Reuters.

At least 12 of the dead were police officers, Nur said. And a woman, Madobe Nunow, was beheaded while her “three children were shot dead,” he said.

A Reuters witness saw seven bodies lying inside the hotel.


Police said three militants were captured alive and two others blew themselves up after they were shot.

Some militants may have disguised themselves and escaped with the residents who were rescued from the hotel, one police officer said.

The attack began around at 5 p.m. on Saturday when a car bomb rammed the gates of Nasahablod Two hotel, which is close to the presidential palace, and destroyed the hotel’s defences.

Then gunmen stormed the building.

The explosion destroyed the front of the three-storey hotel and damaged the hotel next door.

Many Somali officials live in fortified hotels for the security they offer.

Al Shabaab said 40 people had been killed, including three of its fighters who stormed the hotel. The government and al Shabaab typically give different figures for victims in such attacks.

The militant group wants to overthrow the UN-backed government and impose a strict form of Islamic law.