Four Emirati soldiers, Bahraini officer killed in Somalia attack

Armed al-Shabab fighters seen near Mogadishu, Somalia. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The soldiers were "exposed to a terrorist act" while "performing their work duties in training and qualifying the Somali Armed Forces

Four Emirati soldiers and a Bahraini officer were killed following an attack in Somalia, where they were training the Somali national army, the United Arab Emirates announced.

The soldiers were "exposed to a terrorist act" while "performing their work duties in training and qualifying the Somali Armed Forces", the UAE's defence ministry said in a statement on Saturday, adding that three Emirati soldiers and a Bahraini officer were killed.

A fourth Emirati soldier, who was among two injured in the attack, "passed away upon arrival" in the UAE on Sunday, the official WAM news agency said, raising the overall death toll.

The corpses arrived in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on board a military aircraft, according to WAM, which carried footage of three coffins draped in Emirati flags being carried on a red carpet across the tarmac during a military ceremony.

The UAE "continues to coordinate and cooperate with the Somali government in investigating the sinful terrorist act", the defence ministry statement said.

A Somali military source told AFP that the gunman was a member of the Somali army who opened fire inside a training camp in the capital Mogadishu, killing and injuring an unknown number of people including soldiers from the UAE.

"The shooting was carried out by a member of the army who stayed in the camp. He was killed in the shooting," said a senior Somali army official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters.

The attack was claimed by Al-Shabaab, a militant group aligned with Al-Qaeda that has waged a violent insurgency against Somalia's central government and its foreign backers for over 15 years.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud sent his condolences "to the government and the people of the United Arab Emirates over the death of the military officers in Mogadishu who came to assist in rebuilding the Somali army".

"We condemn in our strongest terms this heinous act in which these officers were killed. I have instructed an urgent investigation on the matter," he said in a post on X.

The United Arab Emirates and Somalia signed a military and security cooperation agreement in January 2023.