Under tight security Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Sunday launched development projects sponsored by his government including an airport terminal in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Hundreds of soldiers were deployed across Mogadishu where Somali Islamist extremists have carried out terror attacks targeting Turkish interests. Erdogan, on his second visit to Somalia, was accompanied by his wife, daughter and ministers. Erdogan opened a new Turkish-built terminal for the Mogadishu airport.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud lauded Turkey for investing in Somalia despite challenges, including insecurity, caused by decades of turmoil currently from an Islamist extremist insurgency by al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida. Two days ago three people died when an al-Shabab suicide car bomber detonated explosives at a hotel where the Turkish president’s advance party was staying. No Turks were injured in that incident.
African Union troops, who are bolstering Somalia’s weak government against al-Shabab’s insurgency, blamed the attack at the hotel on al-Shabab.
Somalia: UN, international partners call for resolution of country’s political crisis
The United Nations and its international partners today voiced concern over delays in the resolution of Somalia’s long-standing political crisis and in the implementation of a stability-building mechanism as they called on the Horn of Africa nation’s President, Prime Minister and Federal Parliament ‘to unite for the greater good of the country.’
In a joint statement issued by the UN, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), European Union, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the United States and United Kingdom, the partners urged the country to ‘move swiftly’ towards the implementation of ‘Vision 2006’ through a new Cabinet endorsed by Parliament, warning that further delays ‘could jeopardize the progress Somalia has made towards building peace and security.’
“September 2016 remains the constitutional deadline for conducting free and fair elections,” they declared. “All Somali institutions must focus on building consensus and act in the national interest.”
The statement comes as Somalia struggles to emerge from a political crisis ignited when a recent parliamentary vote of ‘no confidence’ resulted in the political ouster of Somalia’s former Prime Minister.
The Somali Parliament dismissed Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed on 6 December due to reported disputes between Mr. Ahmed and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud over political appointments. Since then, the Parliament has confirmed Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as the country’s new Prime Minister but political uncertainty still remains.
In addition, the country has been plagued by political infighting and bursts of extremist violence as the terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, continues to wage an insurgency. Just last month, in the city of Baidoa, a terrorist attack left at least 15 people dead with many more wounded.
Against that backdrop, Raisedon Zenenga, the UN’s newly appointed Deputy Special Representativearrived today in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, to assume his duties with UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
UN News Centre
A suicide car bomber blew himself up at the gate of a hotel that was being used by a delegation of Turkish officials on Thursday in Mogadishu, killing three Somalis, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey said. The blast came a day before a visit by Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A Somali intelligence official said none of the Turkish delegation’s 70 members had been hurt. Mr. Davutoglu said Mr. Erdogan would go ahead with his visit. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.