At least 22 people were killed after armed Al-Shabab fighters attacked beachfront restaurant in the Somali capital, setting off a car bomb earlier at 16:30 (GMT) which rammed into the popular restaurant known as Beach View. As of 23:05 (GMT) Alshabab continue to hold Beachview and lido restaurant under siege.

Witnesses on the ground described that the attackers wore suicide vests and fully loaded with AK47 forced their way into the second restaurant known as Lido Seafood. Pro-al-Shabaab website Caasimada is reported that al-Shabaab beheaded 3 people, thrown their heads out of windows.

Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters: "We are inside and control the cafe. There are many casualties lying inside and outside the cafe."

Lido beach is in northern Mogadishu, popular with residents on Somalia weekend which falls on a Thursdays and Fridays. The Somali Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, condemned the attack and tweeted "I unreservedly condemn the barbaric attack @ Lido. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims #Somalia" @SomaliPM.

Alshabab gave serval warnings to the public to refrain from Lido beach since Ramadan last year (June, 2015). The beach front restaurants are also very popular with government officials, aid workers and foreign visitors. Beach View restaurant also host a wide range of annual events, some with an international presence such as TEDx Mogadishu.

Last week an African Union peacekeeping (AMISOM) base was attacked by Al-Shabab leaving over 61 Kenyan forces dead and 31 hostages. There is growing resentment on twitter and inside Mogadishu on how effective AMISOM role is in Somalia. @jjzalim tweets "Amisom earn 1500$ so no one can expect rescue or protection from them #LidoBeachAttack".

Somalia National Army is underfunded and tainted with corruption in a recently published by UN Monitoring Group for Somalia and Eritrea. With elections expected for 2016, can Somalia build a government that will eradicate or reconcile with Al-Shabab ? or will 2016 lead to another power vacuum.

 

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