Somalia: Shebabs claim attack on beachside hotel in Mogadishu
The Somali jihadist Shebabs claimed responsibility for the attack launched on Sunday on a famous hotel in Mogadishu, frequented by government officials, that killed ten civilians and a police officer, according to an official report in the evening.
It took security forces four hours and a raging gun battle to regain control of the Elite Hotel, an establishment on Lido beach frequented by Somali senior officials, politicians and MPs.
The attack was carried out by five jihadists in the early evening, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Information, Ismael Mukhtaar Omar, told the media. “Ten people died, as well as five attackers and a police officer,” he said.
According to press reports, at least one senior information minister, Abdirasak Abdi, is among the dead.
In the process, the 250 or so people present in the hotel were evacuated.
The Sunday attack was the latest in a series of deadly onslaughts carried out across the Horn of Africa by Al Shabab, a militant group linked to Al Qaeda, as the group seeks to stoke chaos and undermine Somalia’s government.
Driven out from the Somali capital in 2011, the Shababs then lost most of their bastions. Yet, they still control vast rural areas from where they carry out guerrilla operations and suicide attacks, including in the capital, against government, security or civilian targets.
The Shabab attacks have increased in recent months even as Somalia has struggled to contain the coronavirus pandemic, experienced flash floods that have displaced tens of thousands of people and been swarmed by desert locusts that threaten the food supply.