Somalia's army chief says a suicide bomber Tuesday killed at least 10 recruits and wounded 20 others at a military training school in the capital. The al-Shabab terror group claimed responsibility in a statement and has stepped up attacks ahead of elections expected by the end of July.
The attack happened Tuesday outside the General Dhega Badan military training school south of the capital Mogadishu.
A suicide bomber who disguised himself as one of the recruits detonated his explosives as trainees were gathering for a security screening.
Army chief General Odowa Rage told the state media that 10 recruits lost their lives, and 20 others were wounded and taken to various health facilities in the city.
In its statement, al-Shabab said that one of its fighters was responsible for the attack.
The group said the attack happened inside the heavily fortified Turkish-built military base. It put the casualty total at 40 dead, 50 wounded.
This latest attack comes days after the army said an operation in the Middle Shabelle and Hiran regions killed 50 al-Shabab fighters.
According to security expert Ahmed Hassan, the militants are responding to the increased pressure from the military.
"The attack is in response to ongoing military operations and to disrupt the stability of the major cities designated to host upcoming elections. Another intention could be to discourage young citizens from joining the national army. As you might be aware, we have recently observed an increase in high school graduates — young men and women voluntarily subscribing to the army,” Hassan said.
Somali security agencies, backed by their international partners, have beefed up security across the country ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections, slated to take place in the two months.