A car bomb has exploded at the gates of a military base in Mogadishu, killing at least eight soldiers and wounding 14.
The extremist group al-Shabaab, linked with al-Qaida, claimed responsibility via its radio arm, Andalus. The group often targets military sites in Mogadishu and controls large parts of southern and central Somalia, with little sign of being hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Col Ahmed Muse said the bomber struck the 12th April Army Brigade base near the newly reopened sports stadium in the capital’s Warta-Nabadda district.
The stadium’s reopening had been celebrated by Somalia’s president and others as a sign of the country’s progress after three decades of conflict and chaos.
Al-Shabaab has been the target of a growing number of US military airstrikes under President Donald Trump’s administration. At least 63 strikes were carried out last year.
But the Somalia-based extremist group has been resilient, recently improving its ability to build explosives and supporting its deadly work by taxing travellers along major routes in the country and extorting businesses.
While Somalis and returnees from the country’s diaspora continue to invest in renewal, the insecurity poses a daily threat and complicates political tensions.
When the prime minister was ousted in a parliamentary vote of no confidence last month, lack of sufficient progress in improving security was cited, along with disagreements about the timing of a national election set for early next year.
Last month’s vote came days after the president and regional governments, which have had a tense relationship, had agreed to hold a timely election. Somalia had aimed to hold its first one-person-one-vote in 50 years, but that prospect is fading.
Source: the guardian.com