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the siege of the hotel occupied by jihadist militiamen is still ongoing

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Sporadic gunfire and explosions continued to ring out in the morning of Monday, November 28 around the Villa rose hotel, in the center of Mogadishu, occupied since Sunday evening by Chabab, jihadist militiamen, and besieged by the forces of Somali security. All roads leading to the neighborhood have been blocked, Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondents have noted.

At least four people were killed in the attack on the hotel, a Somali security official told AFP. “The terrorists are trapped in a room of the building and the security forces are about to put an end to the operation very quickly”said Mohamed Dahir, without specifying who the four victims were. “Several people were injured, including government officials”added the head of the security forces.

An attack that occurred on Sunday evening

Witnesses had described two strong explosions on Sunday evening, marking the start of the attack by Al-Shabaab on this hotel, which is frequented by senior officials and parliamentarians and located a few blocks from the offices of President Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud, in the Bondhere district. The establishment enjoyed in principle serious security measures. On his websitethe Villa rose is described as “the safest accommodation in Mogadishu”with metal detectors and a high perimeter wall.

Read also: In Somalia, the “total war” against the Al-Shabaab

By Sunday evening, many civilians and politicians had been rescued and evacuated from the area. “A group of Chabab fighters attacked a hotel in Bondhere district this evening [et] the security forces are engaged to eliminate them”, national police spokesman Sadik Dudishe announced on Sunday. The African Union Force in Somalia (Atmis) has condemned the attack and “bliss” on Twitter “Somali security forces for their rapid response to prevent further casualties and property damage”. For its part, the Somali Parliament, located near the hotel, postponed the sessions scheduled for Monday in its two chambers.

A “total war” against the Al-Shabaab

This new attack comes as the Somali president, elected in May, has decided three months ago to initiate a “total war” against Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab, which has been trying to overthrow Somalia’s central government for 15 years. The Somali army, supported by local clans, by the Atmis, and with the support of American air strikes, thus regained control of the province of Hiiraan and large areas of Shabeellaha Dhexe (also called the Middle Shabelle), in the center of the country.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Somalia: in Mogadishu, the bloody revenge of the Al-Shabaab

But the insurgents retaliated with a series of bloody attacks, reminiscent of their ability to strike at the heart of Somali cities and military installations. On October 29, two cars exploded within minutes of each other in Mogadishu, killing 121 people and injuring 333 others. The deadliest attack in five years in this fragile country in the Horn of Africa. A triple bombing in Belet Uen also left 30 people dead, including local officials, in early October, and at least 21 Mogadishu hotel guests were killed in a 30-hour siege in August .

According to the United Nations, at least 613 civilians have already been killed and 948 injured in violence this year in Somalia, mainly caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) attributed to Al-Shabaab. The highest numbers since 2017, up more than 30% from 2021.

Read also: “Al-Shabaab is now an organization that finances terrorist groups outside Somalia”

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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