The UN in Somalia has strongly condemned a terrorist attack that took place on Sunday at the Elite Hotel in the capital Mogadishu, which reportedly killed at least 16 people and left many others injured.
"This brazen attack targeted civilians, including government workers, peacefully enjoying their Sunday evening, causing many casualties", the UN Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, said on Monday.
"This savagery has no place in the country being built by Somalis and it merits the strongest condemnation", he added.
In recent months, the extremist group Al-Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for the attack, has been increasing its assaults across the country.
The latest attack involved a car bomb at the seaside hotel, reportedly followed by an intense gun battle between the terrorists and Somali security forces.
According to news reports, more than 200 people were rescued and five assailants were counted among those killed.
"This abhorrent attack should not and will not deter Somalis, and the entire United Nations family in Somalia reaffirms its commitment to and solidarity with all peace-loving Somalis in the face of such violence", said the Special Representative.
News reports detailed that after a car bomb exploded at the gates of the hotel on Lido Beach, a popular destination on the seafront, militants swarmed the hotel's compound and engaged with security forces in a four-hour gun fight.
According to media reports, Ismael Mukhtar Omar, the spokesperson for the Somali Information Ministry, said that Somali special forces stormed the grounds and rescued more than 200 people from inside the hotel. Meanwhile, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo asked "Allah for quick recovery to all the citizens who have been injured", and called on all Somalis "to stand with their brothers".
The UN in Somalia expressed "its deepest condolences" to the victim's families and wished the injured a speedy recovery.