Death toll from Mogadishu police academy attack rises to 13

14 December, 2017, 18:17 | Author: Kim Reid

Police were rehearsing for an upcoming parade commemorating the 74th anniversary of the creation of Somalia's police force when the bomber entered the General Kahiye Police Academy early Thursday disguised as a policeman.

The assault is the latest in a decade-old battle by the jihadists to overthrow Somalia's internationally-backed government. "Ambulances have been rushing the wounded away and taking the dead bodies".

Officers said the toll could have been far worse had the attacker killed himself in the center of the crowd. "There are casualties, and many injuries".

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Al-Shabab described the attack as a "martyrdom operation" in a statement posted online.

The militant Islamist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and gave a higher death toll. The group regularly carries out bombings in Mogadishu and other towns.

The attack comes barely two months after the militants stormed Nasa Hablood II hotel in the city centre killing more than 25 people.

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A drone strike earlier this week against an Al-Shabab vehicle carrying explosives prevented an "imminent threat to the people of Mogadishu", the U.S. African Command said.

The increase in United States raids comes as AMISOM, the AU's mission in Somalia, prepares to withdraw 1,000 troops from its 22,000-strong force, as part of plans to pull out all soldiers by December 2020.

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