One day after fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked group in Somalia staged a deadly siege at a popular hotel in the Somali capital in which more than 25 people were killed, the group threatened more similar attacks in the country, warning hotel owners of renting their hotels out to government officials.
The latest attack at Maka Almukarama hotel highlights security challenges facing the UN-backed government which is trying to extend its rule across the country, even though the militants still control
villages and towns in Somalia.
Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, the Al-Shabab official in charge of the group’s insurgency in Mogadishu said their fighters were plotting more attacks targeting hotels frequented by Somali government officials and the African Union forces in the horn of Africa nation.
“We are committed in continuing such attacks, we are warning hotel owners to rent their hotels to members of the government.” He told the Al-Shabab-run radio on Sunday.
In the wake of the attack, security analysts were quick to point out security lapses within the country’s security apparatus, noting lack of coordination and sleeper cells.
“At this point, tackling the infiltration on the edge should be the priority,” said Ali Hassan, a retired former army general.
“Otherwise, the threat in the waiting will make the government the gateway along which militants use to carry out such attacks at will. The forces’ organization is very poor as well.” He said.
Somali intelligence forces which analysts say are in better shape for now have successfully foiled several attacks, however despite the small progress security threats from Al-Shabab remain .
Last year intelligence forces have netted several ‘terrorist’ networks they said carried out many attacks, mostly driver-by shootings.
Dozens of suspects were executed by the government, an action aimed at deterring militants’ who blended among the city population who demanded a better protection by the government.