Mogadishu’s renovated Makka al-Mukarama hotel has reopened its doors, two months after an attack by the al-Shabaab extremists left dozens of people dead and much of the building in shambles.
Though there was not a visible security presence at the establishment, the reopening was marked by a small ceremony this week.
Gurey Haji Hassan, co-founder of the hotel said that he felt “deep pride” to reopen the hotel and was not in ‘’state of fear’’ following four attacks by the militants.
“I am very happy to reopen this hotel and it shows how we love our country….. We have expressed our resolve that we will not bow before the enemies of Somalia.”
Makka al-mukarama is one of the popular and heavily guarded hotels in Mogadishu. Located in a strategic conjunction, it has been a high-profile target for al-Shabaab who claim it is one of the ‘’government bases’’.
The march attack left at least 20 people dead including a senior diplomat.
Somalia’s federal government Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali said on his twitter account that he was delighted with the ‘’resilience’’ shown by the owners of the hotel.
‘’I am encouraged by the resilience and the quick rebound shown by the owners of Hotel Maka Almukarama.
‘’The people of Somalia will not be cowed by vile acts of terrorists. They’ll remain defiant; will defeat and doom them,’’ he said.
Many of the invited guests attending the opening ceremony — politicians, VIPs and government officials — vowed not to let security fears keep them away.
The raid on the Makka al-Mukarama Hotel highlighted the militants’ ability to penetrate and conduct strikes in an area regarded as the most secure oasis in Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab have carried out numerous similar attack in the Somali capital, but the choice of a hotel as a target reflected an effort to show they can still penetrate heavily secured areas despite numerous AMISOM and Somali offensives against them in recent years.