A government spokesperson in Somalia confirmed that the Somali special forces have ended the siege of an elite hotel in the capital of Mogadishu, where at least 11 people have died.
According to BBC, attackers from the Islamist militant group, al-Shabab, detonated a car bomb outside of the hotel which is owned by a Somali MP, before storming the building and capturing hostages. Following security forces sealing off the hotel, they exchanged fire with the militants. Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has been launching an insurgency against the government for over a decade using Jihadist tactics, and had previously been forced out of the country by the government and African Union troops.
However, they continue to carry out assassinations and suicide bombings in the capital city and this instance has occurred in the build-up to elections in the war-torn Horn of Africa nation, with conflict also plaguing neighbouring Ethiopia.
A statement posted online, attributed to al-Shabab said “The mujahideen have launched an operation consisting of martyrdom [suicide bombing] and a commando raid against a hotel belonging to an MP from the apostate group [Somali government].”
The attacks, which have increased in frequency over the past two months in Mogadishu, include a similar shootout between al-Shabab and the security officers in Somalia.
Reports have also described the elite hotel in question to be one of the best guarded buildings in Mogadishu, raising concerns over the growing strength of al-Shabab jihadists and other islamic militants that are beginning to take control of a strategically significant region.
Between Egypt and Sudan’s tense exchanges with Ethiopia over the GERD and the rise of terrorism such as the hotel siege in Somalia, the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region may prove to be a headache, particularly for European nations that have had to and are still dealing with the consequences of the Syrian Civil War and Arab Springs that have had far-reaching consequences over the last decade.