Three soldiers from the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces and an officer from the Bahrain Defense Force were killed in an attack at a military base in Somalia’s capital, the UAE’s defense ministry said Sunday.
The attack took place at the General Gordon military base in Mogadishu on Saturday night, the ministry said.
UAE personnel had been training soldiers from the Somali Armed Forces as part of an agreement between the UAE and Somalia, the ministry said. Two others were injured during the attack, it added.
A UAE army 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 the al Qaeda-linked terror group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack via a statement on its Radio al Andalus.
“We understand the soldier had defected from al-Shabaab before he was recruited as a soldier by Somalia and UAE,” the UAE army official said.
Al-Shabaab was designated as 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 instructed Somalia’s security agencies 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 resolve to combat terrorism and maintain peace and stability in the region.