Al-Shabaab militants’ lethal assault on a popular seaside hotel in Somalia’s cash has raised new questions about the risk posed by the terrorist group, in spite of a heightened U.S.-backed counterterrorism campaign in the Horn of Africa nation.
The militants, carrying AK-47 rifles and explosives, detonated a car bomb outdoors Mogadishu’s Lido seashore Sunday afternoon, ahead of taking pictures their way into the compound of the upscale Elite resort, killing 11 civilians and one particular law enforcement officer, a govt spokesman said Monday.
It took 4 hrs prior to Somalia Specific Forces reclaimed the hotel—a favorite hangout for governing administration officers and users of Somalia’s diaspora—and killed the five gunmen. Troops also rescued some 200 attendees, some of them by using ropes strung from hotel home windows. Amongst those people saved was Abdullahi Mohamed Nor, the hotel’s owner, who is also a previous finance minister and current member of parliament.
“This assault was plainly meant to bring about highest casualty on harmless civilians—men, girls and children” stated Francisco Madeira, the head of African Union troops in Somalia.
Hours later, al-Shabaab released a related attack on an military foundation in south-west Somalia, killing five soldiers.