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Civilian Killed in Attack on Turkey Military Training Center in Somalia

FILE - Somali soldiers attend a training session at a Turkish military base in Mogadishu, Somalia, Sept. 30, 2017.

One person was killed, and two others were injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up near the Turkey-Somalia military training academy in Mogadishu on Tuesday, witnesses and officials say.

The incident occurred outside a primary school supported by the academy, according to witnesses.

The bomber, strapped with a suicide vest, tried to join a line of military cadets outside the military training facility known as TurkSom. Members of Somali National Army guarding the facility opened fire after they suspected him, but the man detonated his suicide vest.

A civilian bystander was killed, and two cadets were injured according to the officials.

The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the bombing.

Turkey inaugurated the military facility in Somalia’s capital on Sept. 30, 2017. It’s the largest overseas military training academy built by the Turkish government.

Four battalions of the Somali National Army have graduated from the TurkSom facility so far, and the fifth is currently being trained at the facility, according to Turkish officials.

A total of 150 officers and 250 non-commissioned officers also graduated from TurkSom since 2018.

Somali military officials say the facility has been key to rebuilding the Somali National Army as some of the battalions who graduated have already been fighting Shabab militants in Lower Shabelle region.