At least nine Somali soldiers were killed and six injured when Islamist militants detonated a car bomb at a training camp in the southern port city of Kismayo.
The blast targeted the military base at the city’s old airport, the African Union mission in Somalia, known as Amisom, said Saturday on its Twitter account. Three of the mission’s trainers were also wounded, it said. Police officer Hassan Mohamud, who spoke by phone from the scene, said he’d counted 12 dead soldiers and about 20 other people seriously injured.
Islamist militant group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in comments broadcast on Radio Andalus, which backs the insurgents. Two of the assailants died, while two suspects were arrested and are being interrogated by Somalia security officials, Amisom said.
African Union troops are cooperating with Somali forces in trying to eradicate al-Shabaab, which has been waging an insurgency in Somalia to impose Shariah, or Islamic law. While the insurgency has lost ground, it continues to stage deadly gun and bomb attacks, including in the capital, Mogadishu. African forces recaptured Kismayo from the al-Qaeda-linked militants in 2012.