An Islamist suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Somali army camp in Mogadishu on Monday and killed at least 20 soldiers, officials and witnesses said.
The attack, which occurred at the Jaalle Siyad Military Academy, was claimed by the Al -Qaeda -linked Al-Shabaab group.
"More than 20 people died in the explosion," Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu, a member of the Somali parliament, told AFP. "The victims are soldiers who were defending their country against terrorists," he added.
Another parliamentarian, who asked to remain anonymous, reported 27 dead and around 60 injured.
The suicide bomber managed to enter the base where the 14th infantry brigade was about to begin a refresher course and detonated its explosive vest, witnesses said.
"I was in a nearby military camp when the explosion happened. We rushed to the scene, it was horrible," said Mohamed Hassan, a member of the Somali army. "The investigation is still ongoing and the death toll could be higher".
The Al-Shabaab group has been waging a bloody insurgency against the Somali government since 2007.
Its fighters were driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, but the group remains a formidable force, despite a major offensive launched in August by pro-government forces, backed by African Union troops and US airstrikes.
The group still controls large swathes of Somali territory and continues to carry out deadly attacks against civilian, political and military targets.