Sunday February 11, 2024
FILE - Somali military officers attend a training program by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at their military base in Mogadishu, Somalia November 1, 2017. (Reuters Photo)
Mogadishu (HOL) - An attack at the General Gordon Military Base in Mogadishu claimed the lives of three Emirati soldiers and a Bahraini officer. Authorities revealed that the attack, described as a terrorist act, targeted the military personnel involved in a mission to train local forces. The United Arab Emirates Defense Ministry confirmed that their personnel were among the casualties, along with two injured. A senior officer from the United Arab Emirates Air Force, Colonel Muhammad Mubarak Al-Mansoori, head of the training mission, is reportedly among the deceased. While not officially affirmed by the Emirati authorities, Mubarak's death was confirmed by Somali military and government sources.
According to medical personnel, both Somali and foreign officers and soldiers suffered injuries in the attack and were transported to various hospitals.
The Al-Shabaab gunman, a newly trained Somali soldier, was also shot dead at the Gordon military base managed by the UAE, according to Somali military officials. The attacker, previously on security detail at the camp, was reportedly known to be a recent defector from Al-Shabaab but was still recruited into the military, according to military sources.
The assault has drawn widespread condemnation and a swift promise of an investigation by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. In an expression of solidarity and mourning, President Mohamud visited Digfeer Hospital, meeting with wounded UAE officers and grieving for the lives lost to what he described as a "sinful terrorist act."
Left: An undated photo captures Colonel Muhammad Mubarak Al-Mansoori being awarded a medal by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, in recognition of his military service. Right: Another undated photo commemorates Colonel Al-Mansoori, who was killed in a recent Al-Shabab attack on the General Gordon Military Camp in Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked militant group, claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. The group said it targeted the UAE for backing Somalia's government in its counterinsurgency against the militant extremist group. They also claimed 17 officers from the UAE, Somalia, and other partner nations were killed; however, the group is known to exaggerate its casualty figures for propaganda purposes.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud offered condolences and visited the wounded officers at Erdogan (formerly Digfeer) Hospital, expressing grief over the loss and condemning the attack.
"I condemn to the worst terms the incident that took the lives of the UAE officers who sacrificed their time and lives to liberate and rebuild our country," Mohamud said.
The attack highlights the nature of military collaboration in Somalia, where Gulf states, particularly the UAE, play a role in counterterrorism and training efforts. In recent years, the UAE has also significantly invested in ports in Somalia's breakaway Somaliland region by constructing the Berbera corridor through DP World.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud offers condolences and support during his visit to Erdogan Hospital in Mogadishu, where he met with Gulf officers wounded in an attack at General Gordon Camp on Monday, February 10, 2024. / SONNA