In a televised speech Tuesday night, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced that his government will launch a “total war” against al-Qaida-affiliated militant group al-Shabab, after the group staged a deadly hotel siege in Mogadishu on Friday, killing at least 21 people and wounding more than 100.
Mohamud said that it is time to come together to defeat the enemy and said the military’s recent operations in parts of the country gained significant ground, including in central Galmudug state and Southwest state.
His remarks were made after he met with the country’s security council to discuss the latest attack on Hotel Hayat in the capital.
He said that he knows that the Somali people are tired of the endless mourning and that people lose their loved ones in every attack carried out by the terrorists. He urged people to be prepared for an all-out war against the ruthless terrorists who are hostile to the country’s peace.
He added that al-Shabab’s only principle is killing, intimidation, humiliation and carrying out atrocities against the civilians.
He said when he assumed the office of the presidency, he promised that he would launch a fight against al-Shabab to end the scourge of terrorism. There have been tangible victories, especially in Galmudug, Southwest and Hirshabele, he said.
This is Mohamud’s second term as Somalia’s president. He also held the office from 2012 to 2017.
When he took office in June, al-Shabab’s leader Abu Ubaidah released an audio message calling the president the worst of Somalia’s politicians and said al-Shabab would fight the new government.
The group frequently targets hotels and restaurants in Mogadishu, where Somali officials and security officers are known to gather.
It attacked the Hayat Hotel with suicide bombers and several gunmen. Security forces cleared the hotel after an operation that took 30 hours.