Al-Shabaab attacks hotels in Somali capital to draw attention to its leadership

Al-Shabaab attacks hotels in Somali capital to draw attention to its leadership

Al-Shabaab terror attack targets Mogadishu hotel frequented by Somali lawmakers, police say Police in Mogadishu say gunmen stormed a hotel Wednesday afternoon and killed four lawmakers on their way to the capital as part of a planned attack.

Al-Shabaab has been targeting hotels and businesses in Somali capital in what appears to be an attempt to draw attention to itself. But the latest assault, which occurred just a day after gunmen killed another prominent lawmaker, underscores the insecurity facing Somalia’s capital.

The attack in the capital came during a visit by Somali lawmakers, and a hotel manager told The Associated Press that a hotel is where lawmakers stay with their families.

He described their meeting in the upscale Mayfair hotel as a “beautiful meeting. We were chatting, telling jokes, talking about the country, life here. We were having a nice meeting.”

“But that’s when they broke in with guns and killed four of our guests, including three legislators,” the manager said by phone.

“It is a huge blow to us. A huge blow to our country.”

A representative for the hotel declined to speak with the AP but gave an email address.

Mogadishu police Commander Ahmed Jama Ali said the attack took place while lawmakers were arriving at the hotel.

“We are aware of the situation but there are no immediate reports to confirm or confirm that it was an attempted attack on other targets,” Ali said.

He said five people were wounded in the attack, which witnesses told the AP was carried out by Al Qaeda’s Somalia-based affiliate. Mogadishu police spokesman Cetin Geczo told the AP that five suspects were killed but it wasn’t clear if any were wounded.

The Associated Press does not know if the attack was staged or whether it was part of a larger strategy to draw attention to its leadership in Mogadishu.

“They are trying to show us that they are not afraid and show us that they are ready for a fight in the capital of Somalia,” said Aden Duale, a Somaliland lawmaker and chairman of the Somalia parliament’s security committee.

The attack comes a day after gunmen killed an influential lawmaker and two aides in a separate attack.

Al Qaeda-affiliated militants have stepped up attacks on Mogadishu

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