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Somalia: 3 dead and 27 injured in Shebab attack on hotel in Mogadishu

Three people were arrested. killed and 27 injured in the 13-hour attack by radical Shebab Islamists on a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, announced ;eacute; a police spokesperson on Friday.

Among the 27 injured are 18 civilians, including three parliamentarians, said Colonel Qasim Ahmed Roble, a few hours after the announcement of the end of police operations and the death of the five attackers.

The attack, claimed by the Islamist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, targeted the SYL hotel, an establishment frequented by government officials and parliamentarians, near Villa Somalia , an ultra-secure compound which houses the presidency and the offices of the Prime Minister.

According to testimonies collected by AFP, a commando of armed men entered the hotel Thursday around 9:45 p.m. local time (6:45 p.m. GMT), after damaging the surrounding wall with explosives.

Police forces arrived shortly after, engaging in a battle that lasted into the morning.

The SYL is a recurring target of the Shebab. This attack is at least the fifth since 2015. The last, in December 2019, left five dead.

The American embassy condemned firmer” this “terrorist attack”, and recalled that the United States is “determined to support Somali efforts to defeat the Shebab”, who have been leading a deadly insurgency for more than 16 years aimed at overthrowing the government supported by the international community and establish Islamic law.

– “Signal” –

Somalia: 3 dead and 27 injured in Shebab attack on hotel in Mogadishu

Somalia © AFP – STAFF, Sophie RAMIS, Sylvie HUSSON

“This is a significant attack which breaks with the impression of calm which had developed in Mogadishu in recent months after certain security reforms”, estimated Omar Mahmood to AFP, researcher at the International Crisis Group.

Carried out a few days after the start of Ramadan, it “also constitutes a signal from Shebab”, he adds: “Despite the numerous efforts announced by the government to weaken them, the group remains active and resilient and is even capable of striking the government near its headquarters”.

Elected in May 2022, Somali President Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud has promised a “total war” against the Islamist group.

Somalia: 3 dead and 27 injured in Shebab attack on hotel in Mogadishu

Somali soldiers patrol near a hotel attacked by radical Islamists Shebab, in Mogadishu on March 15, 2024 © AFP – Hassan Ali ELMI

Driven out of the main cities in 2011-2012, the Shebab remains firmly established in vast rural areas of the center and south of the country, from where it carries out attacks against security, political and civilian targets.

An offensive carried out since August 2022 in the center of the country by the army and clan militias, with air support from the American army and the force of the African Union in the country (Atmis), had made it possible to reconquer territories, before marking time in recent months.

The Shebab are now leading counter- localized attacks.

According to the national news agency Sonna, Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud and military officials held a “strategic meeting” on Thursday to “discuss the intensification of operations aimed at reconquering territories from terrorists”.

– “Complex” attacks –

In January, the Shebab took an undisclosed number of people hostage, after a helicopter the UN was forced to make an emergency landing in an area under their control in the center of the country.

They regularly target busy hotels in the capital by government officials, military officials or security forces.

In addition to the SYL, so-called “complex” attacks (attack with a car bomb or with a suicide bomber equipped with explosives followed by an assault by armed men) have targeted several establishments in recent years: the Pearl Beach in June 2023 (9 dead, including 3 police officers), the Villa Rose in November 2022 (8 dead), the Hayat hotel in August 2022 (21 dead, 117 injured), the Afrik hotel in February 2021 (5 dead), the Elite hotel in August 2020 (11 dead, including a police officer)…

Shebab also targets military targets, such as on May 26, 2023 when a spectacular assault on a base held by Ugandan Atmis soldiers in Bulo Marer (south) killed at least 54 soldiers according to the Ugandan authorities .

On October 29, 2022, the country experienced the deadliest attack in five years with the explosion of two car bombs in the heart of Mogadishu, killing 121 people – mainly civilians – and injuring 333.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116