Three Emirati soldiers and one officer from the Bahrain Defense Force have been killed in an attack on a military base in the Somali capital Mogadishu, the UAE’s Ministry of Defence announced today.
Two others were injured in the attack, which has since been claimed by Al-Shabab was carried out at the General Gordon military base last night by the Al-Qaeda affiliated group.
Cited by the WAM news agency, the defence ministry said that the soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack “while fulfilling their mission to train and qualify the Somali Armed Forces as part of a bilateral agreement between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Somalia that falls within the military cooperation between the two countries.”
The ministry added that it will continue to coordinate and cooperate with the Somali government in investigating “the heinous terrorist act.”
نعزي إخواننا في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة الشقيقة، حكومة وشعبًا، في استشهاد الضباط الذين سقطوا في العملية الإرهابية الشنيعة التي وقعت في مقديشو.
وإذ نستنكر بأشد العبارات هذا العمل الشنيع، فإننا نشيد ببسالة وتضحية هؤلاء الضباط ونثمن دورهم الأخوي في سبيل تحرير الصومال من…
— Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (@HassanSMohamud) February 10, 2024
In a post on X, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has offered his condolences to the UAE, stating: “We offer our condolences to our brothers in the sisterly United Arab Emirates, the government and people, for the martyrdom of the officers who fell in the heinous terrorist operation that took place in Mogadishu.”
“While we condemn in the strongest terms this heinous act, we praise the valor and sacrifice of these officers and value their fraternal role in liberating Somalia from terrorism and rebuilding our armed forces,” he added.
Anwar Gargash, a senior Emirati diplomat also offered condolences to those killed and a quick recovery for those wounded on the social media platform, saying: “No treacherous act will prevent us from continuing the message of security and safety and combating extremism and terrorism in all its forms.”
According to Reuters, a gunman was also shot dead at the site. “The soldier opened fire on the UAE trainers and Somali military officials when they started praying. Four UAE officers were injured while four Somali soldiers died,” an officer told the news agency.
“We understand the soldier had defected from al-Shabaab before he was recruited as a soldier by Somalia and UAE,” the source added.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack on its Radio Al-Andalus, alleging it killed multiple people. It described the gulf state as an “enemy” of Islamic Shariah law for backing the Somali government in its counter terrorism operations against the group.