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    Somalia PM vows accountability over deadly hotel siege

    MOGADISHU (AFP) – Somalia’s prime minister pledged that the government will be held accountable over the deadly Mogadishu hotel siege by Al-Shabaab extremists.

    Hamza Abdi Barre also called on Somalis to unite in the fight against the al-Qaeda-linked group which has been waging a bloody insurgency in the impoverished Horn of Africa nation for over 15 years.

    “There will be accountability in the government… anyone who neglected the responsibility he was entrusted with will be held accountable,” Barre told reporters.

    He was speaking after visiting a hospital treating wounded victims of the bomb and gun attack on the Hayat Hotel that the Health Ministry said claimed the lives of 21 people and wounded 117.

    The 30-hour siege was the deadliest attack in Mogadishu since the new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected in May after a protracted political crisis.

    Map of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia where Al-Shabaab fighters attacked a hotel on Friday, killing over 20 people. PHOTO: AFP

    Police said over 100 people, including women and children, had been rescued during the siege, which began on Friday evening and finally ended around midnight on Saturday after security forces bombarded the hotel.

    “There is only one of two choices here, we either allow Al-Shabaab – to live, or we live. We cannot live together,” said Barre, who was appointed prime minister in June.

    “I call on the Somali people to unite to fight against the enemy… so that what they did now will never happen again.

    “The fight against them has already started taking place around several locations,” he said.

    The Hayat was a favoured meeting spot for government officials and scores of people were inside when a suicide bomber triggered a blast, forcing his way onto the premises along with heavily-armed gunmen.

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