At least 15 army recruits have been killed and several other wounded in a bomb attack on a military training camp in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, security sources say.
The casualties were caused after a bomber from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab Takfiri terrorist group detonated explosives among recruits who were lined up outside the General Degaban military training camp in Mogadishu on Tuesday.
The security sources said the bomber behind the attack was disguised among recruits queueing up outside camp when the explosion occurred.
Health officials at Madina Hospital said they had counted bodies of at least 15 new recruits who had been killed in the assault.
Following the explosion, which sent shock waves across the violence-wracked region, dozens of people gathered outside the hospital searching for their missing relatives and loved ones.
"My son is dead. I have seen with my eyes. Many boys perished. They were asked to come for recruitment and then bombed. The government is still hiding other casualties," Amina Farah, a local resident, was quoted as saying.
Army recruit Ahmed Ali, who was struck in the head by shrapnel, said, "The place was overcrowded with new recruits and soldiers when the blast occurred."
Al-Shabab-run Al Andalus radio claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the armed group’s fighters had carried out the latest deadly bombing.
Somali government forces have been battling al-Shabab militants since 2006.
The militants controlled Mogadishu between 2007 and 2011, after which they were driven out of the Somali capital with help from African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces. This was followed with a period of relative calm in Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab militants, however, still retain a significant presence, reportedly roaming freely and posing a threat in regions outside the capital where the central government has little control.
The group launches regular attacks on government, military and civilian targets.