• en

Al-Shabab Militants Attack Hotel Near Somalia’s Presidential Palace

Four Somali members of parliament have been injured in the militant attack on Syl hotel in Mogadishu.

Militants belonging to the al-Shabab group launched an assault on a hotel near the presidential palace in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, according to security sources and witnesses.

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 blasts and gunfire emanating from the hotel, indicating the presence of militants inside, as per Reuters news agency.

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

An eyewitness, Farah Ali, residing near the president’s office, recounted, “We first heard a huge blast, and then gunfire followed. We understand the fighters are inside [the hotel] for we hear exchange of gunfire.”

According to a security officer speaking to AFP, “Several gunmen forced their way into the building after destroying the perimeter wall with a heavy explosion.”

Hassan Nur, who managed to escape by scaling a wall, expressed uncertainty about the casualties but indicated that there were numerous people inside the hotel when the attack commenced.

Additional witnesses observed the swift arrival of police following the attack, leading to a confrontation with the militants.

The Calamada website, linked to al-Shabab, reported that at least four lawmakers and a government spokesperson were injured in the assault.

Despite recent reductions in attacks, heightened security measures had been implemented following the government’s intensified military offensive against al-Shabab. Nevertheless, the group still controls significant swathes of southern and central Somalia.

Al-Shabab, affiliated with al-Qaeda, has waged a brutal insurgency for nearly two decades against the UN-backed Somali government.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud convened with defence officials on Thursday to strategize the reclaiming of lost territory, according to Somalia’s national news agency Sonna.

Designated as a terrorist group by countries like the UK and US, al-Shabab has targeted hotels in the past, including the Syl Hotel in 2019. In a notable incident in 2022, the group stormed the Villa Rays hotel in Mogadishu, resulting in the deaths of at least 14 individuals. Additionally, in a separate attack three years prior, the Asasey hotel in the port city of Kismayo witnessed the deaths of at least 26 people, including a prominent journalist and several foreigners.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

Follow us on: