NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – A suicide bomber detonated a Turkish military training base in the capital of Somalia, killing two people, police said on Tuesday.
It was the first time that the Turkish base in Mogadishu, Turkey’s largest overseas military base, was attacked by al-Qaida-linked extremist al-Shabab.
The Somalia-based group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, said Radio al-Furqan, one of the group’s radio partners.
Police captain Mohamed Hussein said the attack happened when new military cadets did their morning exercises.
It was not immediately clear whether Turkish officers had died.
Colonel Ahmednor Abdulle, a Somali military officer, said an investigation had started into how the bomber managed to sneak into the base.
Turkey has a significant presence in Somalia and is conducting one of many foreign military training operations in the Horn of Africa country that has long been destabilized by conflict.
Turkey-led Anadolu Agency quoted Turkish ambassador to Somalia, Mehmet Yilmaz, as saying the attack was foiled by guards who noticed the attacker and shot him at the last minute. The incident occurred during an event to recruit students for the base’s training program.
“According to the first information, the attacker left the crowd and tried to enter (the base). He was shot after not complying with Somali soldiers’ orders to stop, “Yilmaz said. “There was an explosion.”
Somali army chief General Odowa Yusuf Rage said on the state radio that security forces shot and killed the bomber outside the main entrance – in contradiction to the accounts of other local security officials.
Al-Shabab governs parts of southern and central Somalia and often fires the capital with suicide attacks.
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