MOGADISHU, Somalia — An Islamic extremist suicide bomber disguised as a police officer killed at least 17 and injured 20 at a police academy in Somalia’s capital on Thursday, police said.
Col. Mohamud Aden said that 20 other officers were wounded by the blast, some of them seriously.
The bomber, with explosives strapped around his waist and torso, infiltrated Gen. Kahiye Police Academy and targeted officers gathering for special morning exercises, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said. The officers were rehearsing for Somalia’s Police Day celebrations scheduled for Dec. 20, Hussein said.
The bomber walked into the police academy undetected and joined a long line of officers in the rehearsal parade before he detonated the explosives under his sportswear, Hussein said.
“He detonated his bomb vest having realized that his presence had drawn suspicion among officers in the queue,” he said.
Police officer Farah Omar who was at the scene at the time of the blast said the bomber targeted a spot where dozens of soldiers had gathered.