Suicide bomber kills 2 at Turkish military base in Somalia

June 23, 2020 - 4:03 am

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A suicide bomber detonated inside a Turkish military training base in Somalia's capital and killed two people, police said Tuesday.

It was the first time the Turkish base in Mogadishu, Turkey's largest overseas military base, has been attacked by the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group.

The Somalia-based group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Radio al-Furqan, one of the group’s radio affiliates.

Police Capt. Mohamed Hussein said the attack occurred as new military cadets were doing their morning drills.

It was not immediately clear if any Turkish officers were killed.

Col. Ahmednor Abdulle, a Somali military officer, said an investigation had been launched into how the bomber managed to sneak into the base.

Turkey has a significant presence in Somalia and operates one of a number of foreign military training operations in the Horn of Africa nation long destabilized by conflict.

The Turkish-run Anadolu Agency quoted the Turkish ambassador to Somalia, Mehmet Yilmaz, as saying the attack was foiled at the last minute by guards who noticed the assailant and shot him. The incident occurred during an event to recruit students to the base’s training program.

“According to the initial information, the assailant left the crowd and tried to enter (the base). He was shot after he failed to abide by the Somali soldiers’ order to stop,” Yilmaz said. “There was an explosion."

Speaking on state-run radio, Somali army chief Gen. Odowa Yusuf Rage also said security forces shot dead the bomber outside the main gate — contradicting the accounts of other local security officials.

Al-Shabab controls parts of southern and central Somalia and often targets the capital with suicide bombings.

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