Death toll from hotel attack rises to 21

The toll of the attack on a hotel in Mogadishu by radical Al-Shabaab Islamists has risen to 21 civilians killed and 117 injured, the Somali Minister of Health announced on Sunday. The attack on the Hayat Hotel in the Somali capital began on Friday evening. It lasted 30 hours and ended in the night from Saturday to Sunday.

This Sunday, the relatives of the missing people were awaiting news from relatives after the attack combining the explosion of a bomb and the shooting of firearms. It was led by Al-Qaeda-affiliated group Shebab Islamists. Security forces put an end to the attack on the night of Saturday to Sunday, announcing the death of all the assailants.

Rescuers were trying to find possible survivors among the rubble this Sunday morning, while the surroundings of the hotel with closed access were calm and experts were working to detect possible explosives. The hotel suffered heavy damage during the face-off between Al-Shabaab and security forces, with parts of the building collapsing.

The attack is the worst in Mogadishu since new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in June, following months of political instability. It highlights the challenge posed to him by the Islamist insurrection, which has lasted for 15 years against the federal government.

Children in shock

Police Commissioner Abdi Hassan Mohamed Hijar told reporters on Sunday that “106 people, including women and children”, were rescued by security forces during the siege that ended around midnight. “The victims were affected mainly in the first hours of the attack,” he added.

Shebab spokesman Abdiaziz Abu-Musab told their station, Radio Andalus, on Saturday that the group had “inflicted heavy losses” on security forces. According to a woman witness, Hayat Ali, three children from the same family, aged four to seven, were found by the security forces, in a state of shock, hiding in the hotel toilets.

The hotel, where many people were staying at the time of the attack, was a popular meeting place for government officials.

Intensified attacks

Somalia’s allies, including the US, UK and Turkey, as well as the UN, strongly condemned the attack. “We express our sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones, wish a full recovery to the injured, and commend the Somali security forces,” the US State Department said.

Al-Shabaab were driven out of Somalia’s main cities, including Mogadishu in 2011, but remain entrenched in large rural areas. In recent months, they have intensified their attacks.

In May, US President Joe Biden decided to re-establish a military presence in Somalia to fight the Shebab there, approving a request from the Pentagon which deemed the rotation system decided by his predecessor Donald Trump at the end of his term too risky and ineffective. mandate. Somalia’s new president Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud said last month that a military approach is insufficient to end the Al-Shabaab insurgency.

In early August, Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre announced the appointment of a former Al-Shabaab leader, turned politician, as Minister of Religious Affairs. Muktar Robow, alias Abu Mansour, publicly defected in August 2017 from the movement he helped found.

Source: Le Progrès : info et actu nationale et régionale – Rhône, Loire, Ain, Haute-Loire et Jura | Le Progrès by

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