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Somalia, al-Shabaab adopts a new strategy: occupying symbolic buildings

Al-Shabaab adopts a new strategy in Smalia: occupying symbolic buildings. Pro al-Qaeda jihadists barricaded themselves for a few hours in the Mogadishu town hall. Less than two months ago they had done the same in the Villa Rose hotel

Somali security forces have regained control of the Mogadishu City Hall after al-Shabaab militiamen stormed the building and barricaded themselves inside. Six jihadists and at least five civilians died during the operations, while several were injured. The decisive raid was carried out by the police special forces brigade, Haram’ad, which rescued dozens of people. The attack is already the second of its kind in the past two months. The previous one had involved the Villa Rose hotel in the capital of the African country and had taken place in similar ways: a six-man commando and a complex attack with the aim of taking control of the infrastructure, freed after a siege.

The goal of the militiamen is twofold

This trend of attacks suggests that al-Shabaab has adopted a new strategy in Somalia with a double objective: on the one hand, to increase the pressure on Mogadishu, hitting symbolic targets in the capital; on the other, seeking visibility in the media to demonstrate that it is still active and dangerous, despite the ongoing operations in Middle Shabelle having dealt severe blows to the pro-al Qaeda group, especially for internal use. There was no hope, in fact, that the attacks on the town hall or the Villa Rose hotel would end in a different way from what actually happened. The jihadists knew they could only “hold” the buildings for a short time. In the meantime, however, they have obtained all the available media coverage, both internally and internationally.

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