For immediate release | Thursday, December 12, 2019

Al-Shabab Hotel Attack in Mogadishu Kills Five, Injures 11

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Al-Qaeda Affiliate Responsible for Multiple Attacks, Chaos in Somalia

(New York, N.Y.) – In Mogadishu, Somali security forces ended a seven-hour attack at the SYL hotel on December 10 that left three civilians and two soldiers dead and 11 people injured, including two members of Somali security forces. The terror group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that its fighters conducted the raid according to plan.

The attack was led by five heavily armed gunmen who stormed into the luxury hotel frequented by Somali lawmakers and security personnel, and began shooting at Somali forces attempting to prevent entry.  

The incident was the latest in a series of al-Shabab terror attacks in Somalia. In a May 2019 report to the U.N. Security Council, Secretary General António Guterres noted that the security situation in Somalia remained volatile. In March and April 2019, there was a surge of attacks in Mogadishu, with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) being used in near-daily attacks. There were 77 such incidents in Somalia in March alone—the most in any single month since 2016. On July 24, 2019, a suicide bomber walked into a high-level security meeting in the mayor’s office in Mogadishu and detonated explosives, killing six people and seriously injuring six more, including mayor Adbirahaman Omar Osman—who ultimately died from his wounds.

Al-Shabab, or “the Youth,” is al-Qaeda’s formal affiliate in East Africa. Established in the late 1990s, the Somali-based terror group seeks to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state that will ultimately encompass the whole Horn of Africa. Al-Shabab controls much of southern Somalia and small pockets in Kenya and Ethiopia. In areas under the group’s control, al-Shabab imposes its strict version of sharia (Islamic law). The group predominately conducts attacks targeting the Somali government and the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM).

To read the CEP report, Somalia: Extremism & Counter-Extremism, please click here.

To read the CEP report, Al-Shabab, please click here.