Central Hotel Attack: A complex picture begins to emerge
Mogadishu, Somalia (SOMALI AGENDA) – Death toll from Friday’s devastating attack on a popular Mogadishu hotel continues to grow as security and intelligence officials make frenetic efforts to understand what exactly happened in the ghastly onslaught that killed number of senior government officials and wounded the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte.
Speaking to numerous sources in Somalia’s security and political establishment, SOMALI AGENDA has confirmed there was only one suicide bomber rather than two as reported in some media outlets. The suicide bomber, a Somali female from the United Kingdom with a Dutch passport has been a senior employee at the Central Hotel for months, the scene of Friday’s gruesome Attack. The mastermind of the attack Ismail Muse, a wanted fugitive from the United Kingdom is believed to have engineered at least two other attacks at Mogadishu’s Makka Al Mukarama hotel in 2013 & Cafe La Chaumiere, a popular restaurant in neighboring Djibouti in May of 2014. On Friday’s attack, Ismail Muse is believed to have been assisted by two other men whose identities has still not been identified. Authorities believe Ismail Muse and his accomplices to be at large.
Eyewitnesses speaking to SOMALI AGENDA have described seeing Ismail Muse with two other accomplices preparing the SUV used for Friday’s attack within the hotel compound. Authorities are currently investigating the possibility that the hotel’s senior management might have facilitated the attack that killed Mogadishu’s Deputy Mayor and lawmakers. At least 12 members of the hotel’s management and security detail are currently being interrogated.
Experts speaking to SOMALI AGENDA have lambasted the country’s intelligence agency for failing to apprehend Ismail Muse after CCTV cameras at Hotel Makka Al Mukarama captured him handing an explosive laden laptop to a failed suicide bomber in November 2013.
Both the suicide bomber and Ismail Muse as well as the owners of the hotel targeted in the attack hail from Somalia’s secessionist region of Somaliland.
Al Shabab, Al Qaida affiliated terrorist group in Somalia has relied increasingly on spectacular and complex attacks on landmark locations in Mogadishu and neighboring countries after suffering string of defeats at the hands of the Somali government and allied forces in recent years.