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The New Arab

Somalia sacks security chiefs after spate of militant attacks

The country's president vowed to wage war on the militants [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 October, 2017

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Somalia's intelligence agency boss Abdillahi Mohamed Sanbalooshe and police chief Abdihakim Dahir Said were dismissed from their posts on Sunday, after 25 people were killed in a deadly bomb attack.

Somalia announced that the country's police and intelligence chiefs had been dismissed on Sunday, as the death toll from a deadly weekend attack on a hotel in Mogadishu rose to 27, the government said.

Ministers approved the dismissal of intelligence agency boss Abdillahi Mohamed Sanbalooshe and police chief Abdihakim Dahir Said during a cabinet meeting.

The two were "fired for the purpose of serious accountability", said a statement read by Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman after the meeting.

The move came after al-Qaeda aligned al-Shabaab gunmen staged coordinated bomb attacks outside a hotel in the north of the Somali capital on Saturday before storming the building. 

Somali forces killed two gunmen and captured three more militants following the 12-hour siege at the hotel, spokesman Abdiasiz Ali Ibrahim said.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab militant group claimed the bombing and hotel assault in a statement on its Andalus radio station.

The hotel is popular among government officials, several of whom were rescued by the security forces.

One senior police official and a former MP were among the dead.

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed condemned the attack which comes two weeks after a massive truck bomb killed at least 358 people in the capital, the worst attack in the troubled country's history.

"The violent terrorists carried out this attack to scare our people who are united to support security after the disaster on 14 October. Such atrocities will neither deter nor discourage our will to fight the terrorists," the president said in a statement.

The president had vowed to wage war on the militants after protests erupted in the immediate aftermath of the 14 October attack.

Army spokesman Capt. Abdullahi Iman said the offensive involving thousands of troops will try to push al-Shabaab fighters out of their strongholds in the Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regions where many deadly attacks on Mogadishu and on Somali and African Union bases have been launched.

Osman said five people had so far been arrested in connection with the 14 October attack.

But since the election of the country's Somali-American president in February, the government has announced a number of military offensives against al-Shabaab - Africa's deadliest Islamic extremist group - only to end them weeks later with no explanation.

The United States is expected to play a supporting role in the new offensive, a Somali military official told AP.

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