Somalia police and spy chiefs fired after militants’ attack on presidential palace

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Somalia’s government has fired the country’s police commander and top intelligence chief a day after Islamic militants attacked the heavily guarded presidential palace in the capital.

Government troops and African Union peacekeepers repelled the attack in Mogadishu and no government official was hurt, information minister Mustafa Dhuhulow said.

Three of the four militants were shot dead by soldiers after they forced their way into the palace late on Tuesday, sparking an exchange of gunfire. The fourth militant was wounded.

Mr Dhuhulow said police commander Abdihakim Saaid and intelligence chief Bashir Gobe had been replaced immediately.

A new minister for national security was also appointed in changes announced by Somali prime minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, who was inside the palace when the attack happened.

The presidential compound, which also houses several government offices, has been the subject of many attacks by al Qaida-linked militants over the years. It is considered one of the safest places in Mogadishu because of the tight security presence.

The Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. The militants have vowed to step up attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.