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Shebab attack on a hotel in Somalia: the government promises to assume its responsibilities

"There will be responsibilities in government, no one in government will escape (his) responsibility.

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Shebab attack on a hotel in Somalia: the government promises to assume its responsibilities

"There will be responsibilities in government, no one in government will escape (his) responsibility. Anyone who has neglected the responsibility given to him will be held accountable," Hamza Abdi Barre said on Sunday evening, after visited the wounded from the attack in a hospital in Mogadishu.

"There is only one choice here: either we allow the shebabs - the children of hell - to live, or we live. We cannot live together," he said.

"If their intention is to deter the courage of the Somali people who have decided to fight them, it will never happen and the fight against them has already started in several places," he said.

He called on "the Somali people to unite to fight against the enemy and (...) to free themselves so that what happened there will never happen again", he added.

Radical Islamists Shebab, a group linked to Al-Qaeda that has been fighting the Somali government for 15 years, launched a major attack on the Hayat hotel in the capital Mogadishu on Friday evening, which ended on Saturday night to Sunday after an intervention by security forces.

The Minister of Health spoke on Sunday afternoon of a balance sheet "at this stage" of 21 dead and 117 injured.

According to police commissioner Abdi Hassan Mohamed Hijar, "106 people, including women and children", were rescued by the security forces.

On Sunday, rescuers were still trying to find possible survivors among the rubble and experts were working to detect possible explosives, AFP journalists noted.

This attack is the bloodiest since the mid-May election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and the inauguration of the government in early August.

- Thirty hours of assault -

The Shebab were driven out of the main cities of this Horn of Africa country, including Mogadishu in 2011, but remain established in large rural areas and remain a major threat to the authorities.

One of the founders and former commander of the Shebab movement, now Minister of Religious Affairs, Muktar Robow, alias Abu Mansour, condemned the attack and called on the fighters to leave the Shebab.

"I call on them to repent. A person has the ability to renounce their wrongs as long as they live," he said.

"Those who send you to do this, I know many and they have their children in the University of Mogadishu and would not send them to do this work. So I call on you to beware, to repent, to leave them and to return to your society because there are still chances, he continued.

"Society should know that it is in its interest to unite to fight against them," he added.

Friday evening, the Shebab invaded the Hayat hotel, a popular meeting place for government officials, crowded on this Muslim day of rest, detonating bombs and firing guns.

Security forces ended the assault around midnight Saturday, announcing the death of all the attackers.

During the thirty hours that the attack lasted, the establishment suffered heavy damage, certain parts of the building having collapsed.

Somalia's allies, including the United States, United Kingdom and Turkey, as well as the United Nations, strongly condemned the attack.

The European Union delegation in the country reaffirmed its support for the Somali government "in its objective of ensuring peace and stability".

This attack "came at a critical moment" for the newly appointed federal government and "clearly aims" to "increase the pressure on an already tense situation" after the elections, added in a press release the services of the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell.

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