Turkey sends armed drones to Somalia
In an interview with Somali TV, Interior Minister Ahmed Moallim Fiqi said Turkey supported the forces fighting against al Qaeda-allied group Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Turkey has sent Bayraktar TB2-type armed drones to Somalia and trained Somali soldiers to fight terrorism in Turkey, Fiqi said.
Members of the public in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu also said they have been spotting Bayraktar drones over the city.
Al-Shabaab militants are seeking to overthrow the Western-backed central government and implement a strict interpretation of Islamic law in Somalia. Government forces often use airstrikes to counter an offense by the militants to spread further from the central Somali where the group reigns.
Last month, the Somali Army announced it "triumphed" over the attacking al Shabaab forces with air strikes, killing "several" combatants, according to state media.
Under President Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara has poured military equipment into Africa and the Middle East, including training of armed forces in Somalia, where it has a base.
On the other hand, opposition figures criticize Turkey saying that Turkish trained forces were also used against peaceful demonstrations by the opposition.
In May 2021, Turkey-backed Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed postponed the elections and extended his mandate by two years. During the protests of this decision, it was claimed that the military units trained by Turkey were used in the brutal intervention of the Somali government’s security forces.