Image via WikipediaA devastating suicide bomb brought Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital city, to a standstill yesterday when about two to three insurgents from the militant group al-Shabab penetrated Muna Hotel frequented by government figures and military officers. The well-orchestrated infiltration resulted in the death of over 80 people including parliamentarians, military officers, employees of the hotel, and civilians. Disguised as members of Somalia’s armed force as they were dressed in military fatigues, the insurgents made their way to the hotel without meeting with any resistance. Upon entering the hotel premises, the insurgents shot the hotel occupants one by one. Later, two of the suicide bombers who were suspected of wearing suicide vests denoted their bombs leaving behind a bloodbath that caused international outcry. The third accomplice, according to sources, was shot outside of the hotel by security officers while he was fleeing the deadly scene.
A few days before this terrible incident, a spokesman for al-Shabab sounded his drums of a looming war-a warning the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM troops failed to heed. In actual fact, both al-Shabab and Hizb-al-Islam proclaimed that a major offensive was in the making during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims observe a prolonged 30-day fast from dawn to dusk. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began on the 11th of August and will continue until the 9th of September according to the sighting of the next new moon.
In Islamic history, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) proclaimed a decisive victory over the pagan Qureish tribe of Mecca in the Battle of Badr in the Hejaz region of present-day Arabia on the 17th of the month of Ramadan in the year 2 AH corresponding to March 17, 624 AD . It was in this war that Muhammad’s chief antagonist, 'Amr ibn Hishām was killed, according to the biographies of the prophet and the authentic hadith (traditions). Likewise, it is anticipated that a bitter war will erupt in Mogadishu on the 17th of Ramadan which falls within a few days from now. Reports that the two militant groups have mobilized a large army for this battle remain to be seen.
Somalia’s underserved military and the African Union peacekeeping troops stationed in Mogadishu have embarked on a major offensive meant to push back the advancing militants. In the meantime, there is a grounded fear Sheikh Sharif’s government could collapse anytime soon should the insurgents continue to gain more ground.