Somalia: Shebab attack on Turkish military training center
Turkish General Hulusi Akar at the inauguration of the TurkSom military training center in 2017. Voice of America CC0 Public domain
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The Somali terrorist group carried out a suicide attack on Tuesday against the TurkSom military academy, near Mogadishu, leaving at least two people dead and two injured. It is the first time that the Islamist movement has targeted this site, inaugurated three years ago, to train future Somali soldiers.
With our regional correspondent, Sébastien Németh
The terrorist is said to have mingled with future recruits waiting outside the entrance to the base. The intruder was spotted, an altercation took place, and the suicide bomber set off his bomb in front of the site, near a school.
The balance sheet is relatively weak, but the symbol is notable. Opened in 2017 after a $ 50 million project, TurkSom is Ankara's largest base abroad. Two hundred Turkish soldiers train future Somali soldiers there. Four battalions have already been formed, and some have already faced the shebabs.
This institution is also part of Ankara's strategy of influence in the Horn of Africa, in particular to counter its adversaries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Turks are today one of the main partners of Mogadishu, thanks to their global approach including military, humanitarian, agricultural and even economic aid.
But their involvement in Somalia also makes them a target of the shebabs, who consider them as foreign invaders. Especially since Turkey also finances mosques, while the armed group claims to be the only legitimate Islamic source in the country.
Attacks on Ankara's interests are therefore regular. Whether against engineers in January and December, or against diplomats in 2015 and 2013. Experts also believe that the danger will continue to grow, with the announced participation of Turkey in future Somali oil explorations.
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