NAIROBI – At least two people killed in suicide bomb attack on a Turkish military training base in Somalia's capital of Mogadishu, police said Tuesday.
A suicide bomber blew himself up inside Turkey's largest overseas military base in an attack which quickly claimed by Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab.
The suicide attack took place while new military cadets were carrying out their morning drills, according to the police.
Turkey has a significant presence in Somalia. In 2017, Ankara established its most significant overseas military base in Mogadishu in a bid to benefit from Somalia’s strategic location.
Turkey’s military presence in Somalia could expose its soldiers to more attacks by al-Shabab militants whose goal is chase away, or at least outlast, foreign troops in their war-torn country.
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.
“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, adding that there was an explosion.
Somali army chief General Odowa Yusuf Rage told state-run radio that security forces shot dead the bomber outside the main gate — contradicting the accounts of other local security officials.
In December 2019, two Turkish nationals were among 80 people killed in a suicide truck bomb attack on a security checkpoint in Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab controls parts of southern and central Somalia and often targets the capital with suicide bombings.