Kismaayo: What Happened at Tawakal Hotel?

25.10.2022: Kismaayo, Lower Jubba

On the 23rd of October, there was a report of an attack at Tawakal Hotel, one of the most popular hotels in the transitional capital of Jubaland.

At around 12.15 p.m., a rather blissful afternoon was abruptly disrupted by a large explosion at the entrance of the hotel which was reported to be a suicide bombing. The bombing was followed by the storming of the hotel by masked and armed men.

The raid would last an agonising seven hours while civilians and staff members were stuck inside the hotel with deranged maniacs thirsty for innocent victims. The security forces wrestled with militants over control for the entire Sunday afternoon as local on-lookers watched on.

Ultimately, the armed men killed nine individuals during the seven-hour siege of the hotel including civilians and security forces while another 47 were injured.

The attack was claimed by the embattled Al-Shabab militant group.

Speaking to the media, Brigadier General Yusuf Hussein Osman Dhumal, the Jubaland regional security minister, told the media that the siege at the Tawakal hotel ended after security forces shot and killed three “well-armed” al-Shabab attackers. He said a fourth attacker was a suicide bomber who blew himself up at the start of the incident.

Kismaayo, Lower Juba, Jubaland State

A Cold Reminder

The siege at the Tawakal Hotel marked Al-Shabab’s second major attack in Somalia this month amid an offensive against the group by the Somali National Army and allied local ‘Macawisley’ clan militia in the Federal State of Hirshabelle, Central Somalia.

The Al-Shabab siege of Tawakal Hotel reminds Somalis of the recent painful events endured following the triple suicide bombings in Beledweyne, Hiiraan which left at least 20 individuals dead as well as the 30-hour siege at Hayat Hotel in the capital Mogadishu only a few months ago which saw dozens killed.

This is Al-Shabab first major attack in Kismaayo since the 2019 when the militants attacked Asasey hotel which saw 26 killed and more than 50 people wounded.

President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud declared an “all-out war” against Al-Shabab in the country following the deadly siege in Mogadishu that lasted over 30 hours. Somali government forces supported by local ‘Macawisley’ clan militia are currently newly offensives against militants in the Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions of Hirshabelle State, Central Somalia.

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