MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Turkish government has expressed concerns for the safety of its engineers working in Somalia following an increase in cases of Al-Shabaab raids targeting them, which could further derail peacebuilding processes in course in the country which has been in ruins for so many months.
Senior Turkish officials attended meetings in Mogadishu on Wednesday to raise concerns over frequent attacks by Al-Shabaab following the recent explosion targeting Turkish workers involved in the construction of the Mogadishu Afgoye road.
The attack for which Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility left at least five dead and several others seriously injured. Of those who died, two were Turkish nationals and Ankara has since condemned the attack as “cowardly” in a statement released a few days ago.
Turkey’s top diplomat in Somalia on Tuesday held a meeting with the owner of En-Ez, the company that won a Qatari-funded project to rebuild a 30-kilometer road between the capital Mogadishu and Afgoye in the Bas region. Shabelle.
Mevlut Cavusoglu had a meeting with Hidayet Zorlu, the owner of Turkish company En-Ez, to discuss ways to reduce the risks for Turkish nationals. The company is involved in the construction of numerous road networks in the country and across East Africa.
According to the report, Turkish officials have offered to stop construction of the Mogadishu-Afgoye road. It is noteworthy that the Ankara government has lost engineers and other staff due to militant attacks in Mogadishu.
It was not the first time that Al-Shabaab militants had targeted a Turkish company. In December 2019, Al-Shabaab admitted to targeting a Turkish convoy in Mogadishu in an attack that left more than 90 dead, key civilians from different disciplines.
Ankara is one of the key stakeholders in Somalia, both socio-economically and politically. On the security front, Turkey is responsible for training Gor Gor’s troops and Harma’ad police officers, who have often been accused of being used to unleash terror against innocent civilians.