(New York, N.Y.) — Somali security forces ended a 30-hour assault by al-Shabaab militants on the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu last weekend that left 21 people dead and 117 wounded. This was the first major attack by the extremist group since Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud assumed office in June. In claiming responsibility, the al-Qaeda affiliate stated that the ambush was in retaliation for President Mohamud’s promise to combat al-Shabaab’s increased presence in the country, reinforcing the significant threat the group poses to Somalia and the African continent.
To read CEP’s resource Al-Shabaab, please click here.
Al-Shabaab is responsible for the deaths of thousands in violent attacks across Africa over the last decade. Most of the group’s attacks are retaliatory against perceived injustices against Muslims and al-Shabaab’s presence in Somalia. Al-Shabaab’s other targets include the U.S. and other Western countries, as well as those states, such as Uganda and Kenya, who have contributed to troops to the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and its successor, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).
Designated as a terrorist group by the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Norway, New Zealand, the EU, and U.N. Security Council, al-Shabaab aims to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia, which it hopes will ultimately expand to encompass the whole Horn of Africa. The group is responsible for major terrorist attacks including the 2013 Westgate Mall attacks in Nairobi, Kenya, which killed 68 people and wounded 175 more; the 2015 attack on Kenya’s Garrisa University that left 150 dead; and truck bombings in Mogadishu in 2017 and 2019 that killed more than 500 people combined.
To read CEP’s resource Somalia: Extremism and Terrorism, please click here.