At least nine people were killed and nearly 20 others injured Saturday in a car bomb blast at the front gate of a Somali military base in Mogadishu, witnesses and security officials said.
Government security officials contacted by VOA have confirmed that eight of those killed were government soldiers and other casualties included members of the solders’ families, who were at the base at the time.
“A suicide bomber driving an explosive-laden vehicle sped toward the front gate of the camp but the guards opened fire to stop it before it detonated,” Aden Mohamed, a police officer among the first responders, told VOA’s Somali Service.
The blast was heard throughout the area and sent a plume of black smoke into the air.
“I saw the dead bodies of at least eight soldiers and ambulances rushed to the scene to carry away the wounded,” a witness told VOA on condition of anonymity.
Hospital sources have confirmed that around 20 wounded people, mainly soldiers, were wounded in the blast.
"We have taken at least 15 injured people [to hospitals], some of them in critical condition,” the city’s emergency medical responders told local media.
The military camp is located near the city’s newly reopened main sports stadium in the Warta-nabadda district.
The blast comes days after a suicide bombing killed at least four people, including the bomber at a Mogadishu restaurant that is popular with security forces and government workers.
Al-Shabab militants have claimed responsibility for the Saturday explosion, claiming they killed dozens of government soldiers.