At least eight soldiers were killed and 14 others wounded after a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the gates of a military base in Somalia’s capital on Saturday.
Soldiers opened fire after the explosion that sent clouds of smoke into the sky, Aljazeera reported.
According to the report, a military pickup was seen speeding from the scene carrying many soldiers covered with blood. The report quoted eyewitness accounts that indicated 8 soldiers died instantly and the death toll is expected to rise.
The al-Qaeda-linked armed group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.
Ahmed Muse, a police colonel, told media that the bomber struck the 12th April Army Brigade base near the newly reopened sports stadium in Mogadishu’s Warta-Nabadda district.
Witnesses said ambulance sirens could be heard as police cordoned off the scene. Huge clouds of smoke billowed from the scene of the blast.
Army officer Major Abdullahi Mohamud said it was an attack. “It must be a suicide car bomb, I am now transporting casualties,” he said.
Claiming responsibility, the group’s military operations spokesman, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said: “We conducted a successful martyrdom operation on a major apostate military base in Mogadishu. The enemy suffered many casualties and wounded, military vehicles destroyed.”
The attack comes days after a grenade explosion in Somalia’s lower Shabelle region killed a deputy District Commissioner and wounded five others.
On August 3, Gunmen targeted the home of Mohamed Abdullahi Kosto in the Wanlaweyn town with hand grenades. The attack came hours after the Somali military said it had conducted a military operation against Al-Shabaab in lower Juba region, killing at least five militants, including Al-Shabaab’s regional financial coordinator.