‘I was terrified my children wouldn’t escape siege hotel’


A woman whose three children and sister were stuck inside Hayat Hotel during the recent siege by al-Shabab militants says she feared she wouldn’t see them alive again.

“I had gone to run some errands in Mogadishu, and I left my three children with my sister,” Fatima Mohamed Abdi tells the BBC.

“My sister phones me and she says, ‘There has been an explosion in the hotel’s lower ground’.

“You can imagine how terrifying it is to be told that your children are inside the hotel where explosions are happening. I was devastated that I really couldn’t do anything,” Ms Abdi adds.

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“I was trying to calm them down over the phone, telling them I was waiting outside for them.

“It took over a four-hour wait but they were rescued all together. I was worried they might be crying, or even worse, but when they came out they were OK physically and mentally – they were even trying to calm me down,” she recalls.

“Before they were rescued, I wasn’t sure if I would ever see them again. So, you can imagine, it was the happiest moment of my life.”

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