At least five people died when a suicide bomber disguised as a government soldier attacked Somalia’s military headquarters in Mogadishu, the capital, a military official and an emergency worker said.
Four army officers died in the explosion and 12 soldiers were injured, three of them sustaining “serious wounds,” General Abdikarim Yusuf Adan Dhagabadan, the head of Somalia’s military, told reporters today in the city. Al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-linked militia, claimed responsibility for the blast at the base, known as Villa Baidoa.
“We have implemented a holy attack on the so-called military base at Villa Baidoa,” Sheikh Abdi Aziz Abu Musab said in remarks broadcast on Radio Andulus, an al-Shabaab-controlled broadcaster. “One of our mujahedeen brigade martyrs blew himself up” in the military compound, he said.
Al-Shabaab has led an insurgency against President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s United Nations-backed government for the past four years. The rebel group withdrew its fighters from Mogadishu in August, leaving the city under the control of the government backed by African Union peacekeepers. It still controls most of southern and central Somalia.
At least four street sweepers and 15 other people were killed in a separate explosion today in the southern Mogadishu district of Dharkenley, said Ali Muse Skeikh, head of the city’s ambulance service.
“The number of casualties may increase,” he said in a phone interview.
Somalia has had no effective government since the removal of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre 20 years ago.