Somalia: At Least 14 Killed in Al-Shabab Hotel Siege

    Photo: AFP [France24]

    The Facts

    • At least 14 people were reportedly killed and dozens more injured after al-Shabab militants armed with explosives and guns laid siege to a hotel popular with government officials in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. Somali forces ended the siege after a more than 20-hour battle.

    • The attack began when al-Shabab fighters stormed the Villa Rose hotel in the Somali capital on Sunday. While fighting between CIA- and Turkish-trained Somali troops and the militants continued on Monday, security forces reportedly rescued dozens of civilians and officials, including the fisheries minister.

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The recent string of devastating al-Shabab attacks proves that the new government's military approach to defeat the group with the help of Western allies, African Union troops, and local militias don't promise success. Moreover, the weak federal government lacks public legitimacy. What is needed now are direct talks between Mogadishu and al-Shabab, and political power sharing to consolidate the government's authority.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The latest terrorist attacks are indeed a setback for the Mohamud government and its allied clan militias. But that doesn't diminish the fact that the offensive against the Islamists has recently yielded a number of successes, with al-Shabab being driven out of key regions of Somalia with US military support. Even if victory isn't yet within reach, and further military and political efforts are necessary, the government is on the right track.

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