Elements of the Islamist militant group Al Shabaab, are still holding their ground at the Maka Al Mukarrama Hotel of Mogadishu, and adjacent buildings they are using as a buffer zone to keep waves of security units trying to drive them into a corner at bay.
The raid which started more than 18 hours ago has thus far claimed, as sources put it, more than two dozen lives most of whom civilians. Eyewitnesses put the initial blast death at 15, with some seriously injured ferried to hospitals where a few, later, died. Some more 10 people were dug out of the rubble of nearby buildings today.
Al Shabaab, breaking silence on the raid, Friday, claimed that it had killed at least 9 of the army and American-trained Alpha unit agents.
Although the government at Villa Somalia has been announcing repeatedly that it had brought the raid and raiders to an end, sporadic gunfire is still being heard at the hotel compound and at buildings next to it on either side.
The attack comes within a week after the Mayor of the Somalia Federal Government, Mogadishu, and Governor of Benadir region, Abdurahman Osman Yarisow, boasted that they have successfully contained the Al-Qaeda affiliated fighters and their deadly raids in the capital.
“Security forces have succeeded to contain the devastating attacks of enormous loss of life resulting from the insurgent Shabaab fighters. Only isolated incidents are now noted from time to time,” thus also dismissing an increasing number of assassination targeting uniformed personnel and government employees which had been an everyday occurrence for the past two months or so.
The Islamist group has staged a similar raid on Hotel Sahafi, Mogadishu, in November 2018, killing more than 60 people.
The Group had also broke the tighter security cordon of Nairobi, Kenya, entering the DusitD2 compound killing scores of people in January 2019.
This latest Shabaab attack is a testimony to the weak leadership of the international community supported, jet-hopping Villa Somalia administration and how so dismally they have neglected the more fundamental cares on their plate including protection of civilians.