Saturday, August 22, 2015 2:26 pm
A suicide car bomb was rammed into a military training base in the Somali port city of Kismayo on Saturday, killing no fewer than 16 people, officials said.
Residents said they heard a loud blast followed by gunfire. Military officials said the attack was launched as soldiers were lining up for training.
More than 30 others injured, officials added.
Somali military commander Muse Ali also said the suspected bomber was a Somali army officer who joined the military from Al-Shabaab.
“We can confirm the death toll stands at 16 after terrorists attacked on military base, but the situation is now calm,” Ali said on phone.
“The suicide bomber was one of Al-Shabaab fighters before he abandoned the group to join the Somali army one year ago,” he added.
Witnesses said that Somali forces and African Union troops arrived at scene and closed all roads to the military site which was attacked by the insurgents.
“Heavily armed troops closed roads near the place, preventing residents from approaching the place,” Kismayo resident Ahmed Yalahow told Xinhua.
Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the militant group al Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations, said the rebels were behind the car bomb and there were several casualties.
Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke confirmed the attack at Kismayu University, which is being used a base for training government troops.
“There was no aim achieved except the killing of brave Somali soldiers,” he said in a statement, without giving a figure for the number of casualties.