Somali police spokesman Sadik Dudishe announced the attack on a hotel by radical Islamists named Shabaab on Sunday, 31 January 2021. A car bomb exploded in front of the Afrikhotel, near the airport, before heavily armed men entered the hotel exchanging gunshots with security guards. An indictable offence that resulted in five deaths and about ten injuries.
The Al-Shabaab soon claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on Afrikhotel, a popular place in the Somali capital. In a statement published on a pro-Baab website on the same day of the attack, they said: “Mujahideen are participating in an ongoing operation inside Afrikhotel, where members of the apostates are posted.”
The exchange of fire between the assailants who entrenched themselves in a room of the main building and the Somali army who came to rescue the customers lasted several hours, from 5 pm until around midnight. Five civilians were killed while three of the four assailants were finally shot dead by the army, the last one blew himself up.
According to the Somali Ministry of Information, one of the victims of the Al-Shabaab attack was General Mohamed Nur Galal, a former senior military official who is well known in the country.
For more than 30 years, the Shabaab have taken control of the Somali capital and many of the country’s strategic areas. However, in 2011, they were driven out of Mogadishu by African Union (AU) troops supporting the federal government.
In this climate of increased tension and instability, presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for 8 February 2021, but no consensus is found between the government which supports the international community and the Somali regional states.