Al-Shabab Militants Launch Attack on Hotel Near Presidential Palace in Mogadishu

Militants belonging to the al-Shabab group have launched an assault on a hotel situated close to Somalia’s presidential palace in Mogadishu, according to security sources and eyewitnesses.

The targeted hotel, Syl Hotel, has previously been subjected to attacks by the Islamist group and is known to be frequented by government officials. Witnesses reported hearing explosions and gunfire emanating from the hotel, indicating that militants had infiltrated the premises.

Media outlets affiliated with al-Shabab claimed that four Somali Members of Parliament sustained injuries during the attack, although the government has yet to issue a statement regarding the incident.

Residents in the vicinity described scenes of chaos and panic, with some managing to escape the onslaught by scaling walls or seeking refuge in nearby buildings. Security personnel swiftly responded to the attack, engaging in a fierce gun battle with the militants.

The assault comes amid a period of relative calm in Mogadishu, with security measures heightened following intensified military operations by the government against al-Shabab. However, the group retains control over significant swathes of southern and central Somalia, posing a persistent threat to stability in the region.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud convened a meeting with defence officials to devise strategies for reclaiming lost territory from the militants, underscoring the government’s commitment to combating insurgency.

Al-Shabab, designated as a terrorist organization by various countries including the UK and US, has a history of targeting hotels as part of its insurgency campaign. Previous attacks on hotels, such as the Syl Hotel in 2019 and the Villa Rays hotel in 2022, have resulted in significant casualties, highlighting the group’s continued capacity for violence and disruption.

The assault on Syl Hotel serves as a grim reminder of the persistent threat posed by al-Shabab, despite ongoing efforts to dismantle the group’s operations and restore peace and security in Somalia.

Quest: Cris-Edesiri Odjomah

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