In Somalia, an Islamist attack on a hotel leaves nine dead and 47 injured

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In Somalia, an Islamist attack on a hotel left nine dead and 47 injured

The attackers were eventually killed by Somali security forces several hours after the attack began. (Archives)

At least nine people were killed and 47 others injured on Sunday in a more than six-hour attack by radical Al-Shabab Islamists at a hotel from the city of Kismayo in southern Somalia.

This large port city is the latest to be hit by the renewed violent actions of the Shabab in recent months, which have notably bloodied the capital Mogadishu and the center of the country.

Launched around 12:45 p.m. local time, the attack ended around 7 p.m. after the three attackers were shot dead by Jubaland state security forces.

The situation has returned to normal: the three attackers are now dead. […] We are conducting research on the total number of victims, said Mohamed Hassan, a local police officer.

At the end of the afternoon, a provisional toll was four civilians killed.

The building is now secure, there are no gunshots. The movement is gradually returning to the area, but there are still members of the security forces limiting traffic, said Abdirashid Adan, a resident of the neighborhood.

The attack began shortly after midday with a car bomb. A suicide bomber drove a vehicle to the entrance of the hotel before gunmen entered the building. Shooting started inside, said Farhan Hassan, another witness.

The Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they targeted a hotel where members of the Jubaland state administration were meeting. In July 2019, they carried out a similar attack on local authorities in a hotel in the city, killing at least 26 and injuring 56.

The Islamist group Shabab, linked to Al -Qaeda, fighting since 2007 the federal government supported by the international community. It was driven out of the main cities – including the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011 – but it remains firmly established in large rural areas, particularly in the south of the country.

Capital of Jubaland located 500 kilometers south of Mogadishu, Kismayo was a stronghold of the Shabab, who derived solid income from port activities before the city was taken over in 2012 by local militias supported by Kenyan forces.

In recent months, the Shabab have increased their activity in Somalia, a poor and unstable country in the Horn of Africa, with in particular a spectacular assault, long thirty hours, carried out at the end of August on a hotel in Mogadishu.

After the attack, which left at least 21 dead and 117 injured, President Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud promised an all-out war to eliminate the Shabab and called on the population to stay away from areas controlled by the Islamists, who would be targeted by future offensives.

The security forces and local clan militias have notably launched military operations in the center of the country, which, according to the authorities, have enabled the authorities to regain ground from the Islamist fighters.

L&#x27 The US military is also carrying out airstrikes. One of them killed, in early October, Abdullahi Yare, one of the most senior leaders and co-founder of the Al-Shabab movement in the south of the country.

Hours after the Somali government announced his death, a triple bomb attack on a government building in the town of Beledweyne killed at least 30 people and injured 58 others.

Besides the Shabab insurgency, Somalia is also threatened by impending famine, caused by the worst drought in more than 40 years.

In this country, 7.8 million people, almost half of the population, are affected by drought, of which 213,000 are in great danger of starvation, according to the UN. Without urgent mobilization, a state of famine could be declared before the end of the year.

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