Military intelligence has claimed that a suicide bomber in an attack claimed by the al Shabaab militant group on Monday killed no fewer than 30 soldiers and wounded scores inside a military academy in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.
Reuters reports that a military campaign launched by government forces and allied militiamen in 2022 has forced the al Qaeda-linked group from large swathes of territory in southern Somalia, but the militants have continued to stage deadly raids.
It was reported that in recent weeks, with the military campaign against them stalled as the army prepares a second phase of the offensive, al Shabaab fighters have stepped up their attacks.
In late May this year, they killed at least 54 Ugandan peacekeepers at a base south of Mogadishu. They laid siege to Baidoa, one of the country’s largest cities for nearly two weeks.
They have also staged a series of raids in Mogadishu this month.
Confirming the bombing Monday bombing targeted the Jale Siyaad military academy, one army officer, who was identified simply as Major Abdullahi reportedly said, “We have confirmed 30 dead and 73 others injured from the blast at the military training camp,” while a second military source also confirmed the same death toll.
Captain Ali Farah, who knew some of them, said the victims hailed from the Lower Shabelle region and had come to the capital for training, adding that he was aware of 10 deaths so far.
“The soldiers were being counted in the queue when the suicide bomber blew himself up,” Farah reportedly said.
Al Shabaab said in a statement the bomber had killed 73 soldiers and wounded 124 others. The group typically gives casualty figures that are significantly higher than those provided by the authorities.
Al Shabaab has been fighting since 2006 to topple Somalia’s central government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.