Al-Shabaab targets recruits in Turkish military base in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Al-Shabaab terrorists on Sunday targeted a Turkish military base that trains soldiers from the Horn of Africa nation, in one of many attempts to run over the facility which has been very instrumental in the fight against the group, which is seeking to topple the government.
The incident, authorities said, injured at least five people and was targeting army recruits who are undergoing training ahead of deployment to the battlefield to face Al-Shabaab militants. Officials said that the incident happened on Sunday afternoon.
Turkey trains Somali National Army [SNA] special forces usually known as Gorgor or Eagle Unit, who have been instrumental in the fight against Al-Shabaab. For decades, Al-Shabaab has been targeting Turkey's infrastructure in Somalia due to close ties between Mogadishu and Ankara.
According to reports, most of the victims of the attack were youths who had lined up for recruitment exercises as Somalia seeks to increase the number of special forces who can handle complex security challenges. Turkey has so far trained over 2,000 such elite forces in the country.
More reports indicate that the attacker, who attempted to infiltrate the group of youths, was intercepted by security forces before he could reach the queue and detonated the explosive. There have been such attempts before.
Already, the Al-Shabaab militants have claimed responsibility for the attack, placing the number of casualties at 32, a figure which could not be ascertained. Mogadishu has been enjoying relative stability for the last 12 months given heightened surveillance within the city.
Somalia is determined to eliminate Al-Shabaab militants by the end of 2024 and the strategy was buoyed following the lifting of the arms embargo imposed on the country for the last three decades. Al-Shabaab has also suffered significant losses in the last 12 months following the activation of military operations against them.