Norway’s foreign ministry could confirm on Monday that two Norwegian citizens were among those killed during a terrorist attack on a hotel in Somalia during the weekend. Newspaper VG had reported the deaths, and the men’s families in Oslo have been notified.
The attacks at the Hotel Hayat in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu went on for more than 30 hours Friday and Saturday. At least 21 people were killed and another 117 injured. Somalian security forces reportedly managed to rescue 106 people including some women and children.
Local police and military forces didn’t gain control over the situation until early Sunday. The radical Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Norway’s foreign ministry suspected Norwegians were among the victims and that was confirmed on Monday. It will take time to identify any additional victims because of a security situation in Somalia that a ministry spokesperson described as “demanding.” The ministry added that “we have extremely limited possibility to assist Norwegian citizens in Somalia.”
The attack has been tied to the terrorist group’s alleged need to make its presence known after a new government has been set up in the country. Stig Jarle Hansen, a professor of international relations at NMBU in Ås who specializes in Somalia, noted that the new government has vowed to fight back against Al-Shabaab. The government’s new minister of religion is a former member of Al-Shabaab who defected, and Hansen thinks more attacks can be expected.