A suicide bomber dressed in an army uniform infiltrated a training camp in Somalia’s capital on Monday and killed at least nine soldiers.
The bomber, posing as a military trainee, walked into the camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu and detonated explosives strapped to his waist, officials said.
Armed group al-Shabab , which has carried out frequent attacks aimed at overthrowing President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s government, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Two military colonels were among those died as well as the camp’s chief trainer, Colonel Abdi Hassan told the Associated Press news agency.
A military colonel, asking not to be named, told Reuters: “Some of the injured ones are in serious condition. It is not easy to prevent a militant in military uniform who wants to kill himself.”
At a hospital in Mogadishu, gravely wounded soldiers were transported into emergency rooms, with bleeding victims on stretchers awaiting treatment outside.
“He entered the camp unstopped,” whispered, an injured soldier with bandages wrapped on his head and leg as he spoke to his anxious mother. “We were sitting under a tree when he came and blew himself up among us,” he said, grimacing with pain.
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The soldiers and officers were resting after their daily military exercises.
In a separate incident on Monday, a government worker was killed after a bomb in his car was detonated by remote control in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district, police said.
The spate of attacks come after Mohamed declared a new war against the al-Qaeda linked group on Thursday. He has named a new military chief and other officials in an attempt to improve the worsening security situation.
Al-Shabab has denounced Mohamed, who was elected as president in February, as an “apostate” and threatened to wage “vicious war” against his government.
The group has lost large swathes of territory and was pushed out of the capital by national and African Union multinational forces in 2011, but it continues to carry out deadly bombings. Targets have included hotels, military checkpoints and the presidential palace.
The conflict has exacerbated the effects of a severe regional drought in many parts of the country. The U.N. says more than half the population of 12 million will need aid by July.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies