Al-Shabaab kills UAE and Bahrain military trainers in base shooting in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - At least four military trainers - three Emirati and one Bahrain were killed at a military training camp in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, President Hassan Sheikh confirmed while calling for stern actions against the perpetrators, who sneaked in and opened fire.
In a statement, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Defence confirmed the incident, noting that three of her military trainers and one from Bahrain were killed at Gen. Gordon's military training facility in Mogadishu, sending shocker waves across the Horn of Africa.
"The UAE Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced the martyrdom of three members of the UAE Armed Forces and an officer from the Bahrain Defence Force, along with the injury of two others, in a terrorist act in the Republic of Somalia," UAE state media reports.
"They were fulfilling their mission to train and qualify the Somali Armed Forces as part of a bilateral agreement between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Somalia that falls within the military cooperation between the two countries."
In a statement, the MoD prayed to Allah Almighty to have mercy on the martyrs, and extended its deepest condolences to their families, wishing for a full and swift recovery for those injured. The Ministry added that the United Arab Emirates continues to coordinate and cooperate with the Somali government in investigating the heinous terrorist act.
According to reports, the attack came from within, the shooter had already accessed to the camp. The advisors, who were the target, live within the highly fortified airport but they visit the camp regularly to supervise training of the Somali soldiers.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud ordered security agencies to urgently investigate the attack, and promised to take tough action against whoever planned it. He also sent condolences to the families of the trainers, state media confirmed.
"I strongly condemn this horrible act that took the lives of these officers who sacrificed their time and lives for the liberation of our country and the rebuilding of our forces," he said. The president instructed the Security forces to conduct an urgent investigation. "We promise that strict actions will be taken against whoever organized this heinous act," he added
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said the UAE officers came to Mogadishu to participate in the rebuilding of the Somali army. Some other reports indicate that Somali soldiers training in the facility also suffered casualties with Al-Shabab taking responsibility.
There are conflicting reports about the shooter. One account suggested he was a member of a specially-trained protection unit at the camp. A second account says he was one of the new recruits who have been conducting firing exercises at the camp, VOA Somali reports.
The shooting occurred in or around the mosque in the camp. Somalia has intensified the fight against Al-Shabaab in the country, with foreign troops also playing a key role in training and equipping local troops. The country has projected December 2024 as the date when the militants will be completely vanquished.