Suicide bomber explodes in military academy, killing 5

AP News
Posted: Apr 10, 2017 7:10 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up at a military academy in the western part of Somalia's capital, killing at least five soldiers, said a military officer.

Two military colonels were among those died as well as the camp's chief trainer, said Col. Abdi Hassan.

The bomber dressed in a military uniform walked into the Somali military training camp on Monday morning and detonated explosives strapped to his waist near soldiers and officers, said Hassan.

The bomber, posing as a military trainee, had crossed the gate checkpoint and targeted soldiers and officers resting under a tree after their daily military exercises, he said.

Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Photos show debris and pieces of military uniforms scattered across the ground.

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.

In a separate incident Monday, a government worker was killed after a bomb in his car was detonated by remote control in Mogadishu's Hamarweyne district, police say.

Abdikadir Osman, an officer with the education minister immediately died before medics took to a hospital, said Abdiqadir Mohamed, the district commissioner.

Al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida, has stepped up its campaign of bombings in Mogadishu in recent weeks. New President Mohmed Abdullahi Mohamed has named a new military chief and other officials in an attempt to improve the worsening security situation.

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The Somali-American president gave al-Shabab members a 60-day amnesty period to surrender and join the government side.

Al-Shabab has denounced the new president as an "apostate" and warned Somalis against supporting him. The rebels have been pushed out of the capital and other major urban areas in Somalia by national and African Union multinational forces, but they continue to carry out deadly bombings and attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere. Targets have included hotels, military checkpoints and the presidential palace.

The Trump administration approved greater U.S. military authority to pursue al-Shabab, including more aggressive airstrikes as parts of southern Somalia will be considered areas of active hostilities.