MOGADISHU    -    Somalia’s prime minister pledged that the govern­ment will be held accountable over the deadly Mogadi­shu hotel siege by Al-Shabaab mil­itants whom he branded “children of hell”. Hamza Abdi Barre also called on Somalis to unite in the fight against the Al-Qaeda-linked group which has been waging a bloody insurgency in the impov­erished Horn of Africa nation for more than 15 years.

“There will be accountability in the government... anyone who neglected the responsibility he was entrusted with will be held accountable,” Barre told reporters late Sunday.

He was speaking after visiting a hospital treating wounded victims of the bomb and gun attack on the Hayat Hotel that the health ministry says claimed the lives of 21 people and wounded 117.

The 30-hour siege was the dead­liest attack in Mogadishu since the new President Hassan Sheikh Mo­hamud was elected in May after a protracted political crisis.

Police said more than 100 peo­ple, including women and children, had been rescued during the siege, which began on Friday evening and finally ended around midnight Sat­urday after security forces bom­barded the hotel. “There is only one of two choices here, we either allow Al-Shabaab -- the children of hell -- to live, or we live. We cannot live together,” said Barre, who was ap­pointed prime minister in June.