Somalia hotel frequented by politicians attacked by al-Shabaab

Somalia hotel frequented by politicians attacked by al-Shabaab

Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Islamists in Somalia belonging to al-Shabaab (al-Shabab) stormed a hotel in Mogadishu. This hotel is frequented by politicians and others connected to the government. Hence, despite America’s recent involvement under President Joe Biden, terrorism continues to flow. 

The hotel is in a guarded area – because it isn’t so far from the Presidential Palace. Thus al-Shabaab is highlighting that government officials are within reach. 

Associated Press reports, “The United States has described al-Shabab as one of al-Qaida’s deadliest organizations and targeted it with scores of airstrikes in recent years. Hundreds of U.S. military personnel have returned to the country after former president Donald Trump withdrew them.”

The number of people killed or injured isn’t currently known. Security forces are flushing out al-Shabaab Islamists. 

Reuters reports, “The assailants stormed the Villa Rose hotel, which is close to the presidential palace, two police officers told Reuters. It was not immediately clear how many attackers there were, the officers said.”

Voice of America reports, “The attack comes as Somali government forces supported by local fighters continue an offensive against the militants in Hirshabelle and Galmudug states.”

Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre recently said, “The government of Dan Qaran (National Interest) has launched a three-front war, militarily, economically and ideology against the Khawarij.”

Khawarij is a derogatory term aimed at al-Shabaab. It means “deviant sect.” 

Al-Shabaab is adept at melting away when needed, launching hit-and-run attacks, targetting officials or regional leaders opposed to them, and frequent terrorist attacks against Mogadishu. 

The economic angle and state-within-a-state in areas under their control are maintained by strict discipline. Thus recruitment drives remain open to al-Shabaab concerning Islamist indoctrination and by deeming the government to be usurpers against Islam. 

Hence, the government of Somalia is intent on rebuking the Khawarij by countering the Islamic credentials of al-Shabaab, which is deemed a “deviant sect.”

Yet, with American soldiers being based in Somalia, this is giving al-Shabaab a propaganda boost even if militarily it becomes more difficult.

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