Wang Guansen/Xinhua/Getty Images
Mogadishu, Somalia, in a photo taken on September 12, 2023.
Three soldiers from the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces and an officer from the Bahrain Armed Forces were killed in an attack on a military base in Somalia’s capital, the UAE Defense Ministry said on Sunday.
The attack took place on Saturday evening at the General Gordon military base in Mogadishu, the ministry said.
UAE personnel trained soldiers from the Somali Armed Forces as part of an agreement between the UAE and Somalia, the ministry said. Two others were injured in the attack, it added.
A UAE military officer told Reuters that the gunman was a newly trained Somali soldier. “The soldier opened fire on UAE trainers and Somali military officials when they started praying,” the official said.
Reuters reported that the Al-Qaeda-linked terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on its Radio al Andalus.
“We understand that the soldier had left Al-Shabaab before being recruited as a soldier by Somalia and the UAE,” the UAE military official said.
Al-Shabaab was designated a terrorist group by the US in 2008 and by a UN Security Council committee in 2010.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attack and ordered Somali security forces to conduct a “thorough and urgent investigation.”
The UAE said it would cooperate with the Somali government in investigating what it called a terrorist attack, and reiterated its determination to fight terrorism and maintain peace and stability in the region.