At least five people were reported killed on Saturday in an apparent “terrorist” attack in the capital, Mogadishu, and the United Arab Emirates’ defense ministry said three of the dead were Emirati soldiers and one was a Bahraini officer. A fifth fatality was presumed to be a Somali officer. 

  • Those killed were involved in training members of the Somali Armed Forces

  • Gunman tagged as a newly trained Somali soldier, who opened fire while the victims were praying

  • Al Shabab militants claimed responsibility for the attack via a statement on its Radio al Andalus

At least five people, including Somali military officials and United Arab Emirates (UAE) soldiers, were killed on Saturday after a soldier opened fire at a military base in the capital, Mogadishu, an army officer and hospital staff told Reuters.

The UAE’s defense ministry, however, said three members of its armed forces and one Bahraini officer were killed in a “terrorist act” in Somalia while they were training Somali armed forces.


Two more were injured, the ministry added in a statement.

The ministry did not give other details about the attack but said the UAE “continues to coordinate and cooperate with the Somali government in investigating” the act.

The gunman, a newly trained Somali soldier, was also shot dead at the Gordon military base managed by the UAE, said the army officer, who gave his name only as Ahmed.

“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,” the officer told Reuters.

We understand the soldier had defected from al-Shabaab before he was recruited as a soldier by Somalia and the UAE,” he said.

According to another military source, the assailant, identified as a soldier with access to the camp, utilized a machine gun during the assault.

Al Shabaab, linked to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack via a statement on its Radio al Andalus and said its fighters had killed 17 soldiers.

Two nurses and a doctor at the Erdogan Hospital in Mogadishu, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that a senior officer from the UAE had died and four other officers were seriously injured.

In addition, about 10 injured Somali soldiers had been brought to the hospital, they said.

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, in a statement on state media (SONNA), offered his condolences to the UAE following the incident.

He emphasized the need for a thorough investigation into the incident.

3 Emirati Soldiers, One Bahraini Officer Killed In Attack In SomaliaAn insider attack of this scale demonstrates to the international community that Somalia is not serious about its so-called war on Al-Shabaab.

The General Gordon military training camp, which is under the direct control of the UAE, serves as a hub for Somali soldiers trained and funded by the UAE.

The UAE military advisers were seemingly the intended targets of the attack.

Sources at the Somali Ministry of Defense disclosed that the UAE advisers, who are associated with the UAE Embassy, reside at Mogadishu airport but frequently visit the camp to oversee Somali soldiers’ training activities.

However, the General Gordon camp’s history is marked by turbulence, having been closed down in 2018 after the UAE’s withdrawal following a dispute with the previous administration led by Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

The camp was reopened after the election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in 2022.

Recent tensions in Mogadishu have been attributed to anti-UAE sentiment, particularly concerning the UAE’s perceived support for the Ethiopia-Somaliland Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at accessing the Red Sea.

President Mohamud’s remarks in a speech delivered in Rome last week hinted at “external actors,” without explicitly naming the UAE, allegedly backing Ethiopia’s interests in the Red Sea region.

Al Shabaab has waged an insurgency against the Somali government since 2006 to try to establish its own rule.