Six civilians and three members of the security forces were killed and ten civilians injured in the attack on a hotel in Mogadishu by a commando of Al-Shabaab radical Islamists neutralized on Friday night in Saturday after a six-hour siege, according to the Somali police.
“Six civilians died in the attack […] and ten others were injured. Three brave members of the security forces also perished,” the police said in a statement, adding that 84 people who were in the Pearl Beach hotel were rescued and unharmed.
The attack, claimed by Islamist fighters close to Al-Qaeda, began shortly before 8:00 p.m. Friday (1700 GMT), when seven assailants stormed the Pearl Beach hotel on the Mogadishu seafront. p>
It ended around 2:00 a.m., according to the police, after heavy fire exchanges between the police and the attackers, who were all killed.
“Security forces managed to save 84 people, including women, children and the elderly,” the statement said. by the international community and have often targeted hotels, which usually host senior Somali and foreign officials.
On Friday evening, witnesses contacted by AFP reported heavy gunfire near the establishment. Several ambulances were parked nearby, noted an AFP journalist.
“I was near the Pearl Beach restaurant when a loud explosion sounded in front of the building,” witness Abdirahim Ali told AFP. “I managed to escape, but then there was heavy fire and the security forces came in force.”
A “total war” < /p>
Yaasin Nur, who was nearby, said the hotel restaurant “was full of people, as it was recently renovated.”
In August 2020, the shebabs launched a major attack on the Elite, another hotel on the Lido beach, killing ten civilians and a policeman. It had taken four hours for the security forces to regain control of the establishment.
The Shebab, affiliated with Al-Qaeda and who demand the establishment of Islamic law in the country, have been fighting for over fifteen years the federal government supported by the international community.
Driven out of the country's main cities in 2011-2012, they remain firmly established in vast rural areas.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud has declared “total war” against them, and launched an offensive in September military, notably supported by American airstrikes.
But the Shebab continue to carry out bloody attacks in retaliation, underlining their ability to strike at the heart Somali towns and military installations.
On May 26, they attacked a base held by Ugandan soldiers of the African Union Force in Somalia (Atmis) in the south of the country, killing at least 54 soldiers.
October 29, 2022 , two car bombs had exploded in Mogadishu, killing 121 people and injuring 333, the deadliest attack in five years in this country also affected by a historic drought.
A triple bomb attack in Beledweyne (centre) also killed 30 people, including local officials, in early October and at least 21 guests of a hotel in Mogadishu were killed during a 30-hour siege in August.
This headquarters had raised questions about how Islamist militants managed to reach the tightly guarded heart of Mogadishu's administrative district undetected.
In a report to the UN Security Council in February, Secretary General Antonio Guterres said 2022 had been the deadliest year for civilians in Somalia since 2017, largely due to Al-Shabaab attacks.