A suicide bomber struck a military training camp in Somalia on Saturday, causing casualties, a military official said, in an attack claimed by the Al-Shabaab jihadist group one week after twin blasts left 116 dead.
The attack on the camp in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu came as the government ratchets up its fight against the Islamists who have led a 15-year insurgency in the troubled Horn of Africa nation.
The bomber detonated himself at the Xero Nacnac training camp for army recruits, military official Adan Yare told our reporters.
“There were some casualties inflicted on both civilians and the new recruits,” he said, adding that investigations were ongoing.
Somalia’s state-run news agency SONNA said the blast occurred at the camp’s entrance, indicating some civilian casualties. Witnesses report seeing several ambulances arrive at the scene of the attack.
“The army cordoned off the area and it is not possible to get close to the camp but… I saw several ambulances rushing to the scene and coming out with casualties, I cannot say how many,” Mogadishu resident Farah Muse told AFP.
There was no official statement from the government about the attack, which was claimed by Al-Shabaab. The Al-Qaeda-linked fighters have stepped up their attacks in Somalia since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in May and vowed an “all-out war” against the jihadists.
On Friday, the ministry of information said the army had killed more than 100 Al-Shabaab fighters in an operation in central Hirshabelle state. Last Saturday, the militants carried out twin car bombings targeting the education ministry in the deadliest assault on the country in five years.
In August, the group launched a 30-hour gun and bomb attack on the popular Hayat hotel in Mogadishu, killing 21 people and wounding 117.
The attack took place at the same junction where a truck packed with explosives blew up on October 14, 2017, killing 512 people and injuring more than 290, the deadliest attack in Somalia.
The insurgents, who have been seeking to overthrow the fragile foreign-backed government in Mogadishu, were driven out of the capital in 2011 by an African Union force.
But the group still controls swathes of countryside and continues to wage deadly strikes on civilian, political and military targets.