In 2016, Al-Shabaab was named the deadliest terrorist group in Africa having killed more than 4, 000 people that year. This year seems no different in Somalia. Recently the U.S. State Department in an updated warning on Somalia stated that “There is a particular terrorist threat in places where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, including airports and seaports, government buildings, hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas.
Al-Shabaab continues to attack hotels, government leaders, and anywhere large crowds might assemble. On Saturday, October 28, 2017, five Al-Shabaab terrorists attacked the Nasahablod hotel in the Hamarweyne District of Mogadishu. A suicide bomber in a truck pulled up to the front gate of the hotel and pretended his vehicle was broken down. When the suicide bomber detonated the other attackers stormed the hotel wearing National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) uniforms shooting all they came in contact with. One terrorist detonated a suicide bomber vest as the other terrorists threw grenades and made their way inside the hotel which they held until the next morning. The terrorist killed 27 and injured over 30 individuals.
This is not the first time this hotel has been attacked. In June, four gunmen wearing military uniforms stormed the hotel once again taking hostages and throwing hand grenades. A suicide bomber detonated his vest at the entry gate. The terrorists killed 14 and wounded 11 during this attack. Two weeks before this attack Al-Shabaab terrorists stormed the Ambassador Hotel killing 15 including two members of the Parliament. Today in Mogadishu a ban was announced on tankers and overloaded trucks in the city. But this won’t stop Al-Shabaab attacks. Yesterday in Rasadaay, Al-Shabaab fighters forced the African Union Forces (AMISOM) to withdraw.
The number and magnitude of these attacks in Mogadishu threaten the Somalia government led by President Mohamed Abdullahi. Colonialism, civil war, corruption, Islamic ideology and terrorism have robbed the Somalia people of peace and prosperity over the last 30 years. On Monday the Trump administration said it would contribute an initial $60 million to help five nations (Niger, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania) in Africa’s Sahel region as it builds and trains a cross-border counterterrorism force. While the Sahel region is critical to defeating terrorists in the crossroads of Africa we can’t forget about the regional threat posed by the Al-Shabaab. The United States needs to double its efforts and take the leadership in getting regional partners to redouble their efforts to finally end the threat to the region posed by al-Shabaab terrorists. Six months ago, America lost a warrior sent into this dangerous land. Senior Chief Petty Officer Kyle Milliken, a dedicated son, husband, father and Navy SEAL was killed during an operation west of Mogadishu. As a Somali proverb states “When a snake is in the house, one need not discuss the matter at length.” The Al-Shabaab snake needs to be eliminated. Otherwise this area will continue to be a problem for the region.