Somalia: Al-Shabaab targets military training base; 15 dead

FILE: Al-Shabab has carried out numerous deadly attacks in Somalia and East Africa [AFP photo]

MOGADISHU, Somalia - At least 15 people were killed on Sunday morning in the Somali capital Mogadishu, officials said, in an attack that comes amid heightened operations against Al-Shabaab militants across the country, which has been lauded globally due to the involvement of civilians.

Officials said the Sunday explosion involved a suicide bomber who targeted General Dhagabadan military facility, which is used for the training of the Somali National Army [SNA] who are critical in the fight against Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaida-linked group that controls large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia.

There were a number of similar Al-Shabaab attacks in the area in the past few years, and all of them targeted new military recruits, officials added. The incident comes amid operations in Galgaduud, Hiiraan, and Bay regions which have recorded positive gains.

The attack left over 20 people seriously wounded according to government sources and the victims have since been taken to various hospitals within the city. Sunday is a working day in Somalia, a country whose residents are mostly Muslims, subscribing to Islam.

Shortly after the explosion, Al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility, adding that it was carried out by a suicide bomber, but the group did not mention the exact target. In most cases, Al-Shabaab targets military officers, a confirmation that Sunday's attack was targeting security officials.

This is the largest attack in as many weeks after the attack at Hayaat Hotel within Mogadishu which targeted a number of government officials, leaving at least 22 people dead according to government statistics. The attack was widely condemned by members of the international community.

This is the second suicide attack at the same SNA camp since June 2021 and it comes days after the army said an operation in the Hiran region killed 100s al-Shabab fighters and regained more territory in central Somalia. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had over the weekend termed Al-Shabaab a mafia that should be defeated.

Al-Shabaab has been facing a series of defeats in organized operations by the SNA and allies particularly the US Africa Command and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] who are critical in giving ground combat assistance and aerial surveillance respectively.

On Sunday, Interior Minister Ahmed Fiqi confirmed that Turkey also joined other entities in providing air support to government forces fighting Shabaab. For a while now, members of the public have been reporting spotting Bayraktar drones in the skies over Mogadishu.

The government was yet to issue an official statement about the Horn of Africa nation's latest attack, but previously, it had maintained that the onslaught against the team will have to continue for a little while until the group is completely vanquished.


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