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Opposition leader questions Turkey's plan to 'grab' resources in Somalia

By Staff Correspondent , Garowe Online
Wadajir party leader, Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame - File Photo

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Foreign nations are keen to take advantage of Somalia's instability to grab resources, opposition leader Abdirahman Abdishakur has said, adding that "nothing like brotherhood and charity".

Somalia has heavily depended on foreign aid to fund her budget, as it struggles to restore order following persistent Al-Shabaab attacks and inter-clan conflicts.

The UN-backed federal government is so fragile that even with over 22,000 peacekeeping troops, cases of Al-Shabaab attacks are routine in the capital and across the country.

The country is planning to hold polls in December, which would determine the future of Mohamed Farmajo, who has often been dismissed as a "divisive" character by critics.

Support to Somalia not genuine

In a tweet on Monday, Abdishakur questioned the intent of Somalia allowing Turkey to explore her oil, doubting the genuineness of Ankara's support.

"Somalia suffers from both internal divisions & geopolitical rivalries vying for influence. Nothing is called brotherhood or charity," he said.

The Wadajir party leader also suspected the possibility of foreign countries working in cohorts with the federal government to sponsor terrorism.

He added: "Today’s geopolitical strife is revolved around energy, either to grab resources or use resources to fund radical groups."

Previously, Abdishakur had poked holes into Farmajo's administration, accusing him of the "inability to offer visionary leadership and safety to our people."

Turkish President announced the offer

Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President, recently revealed Mogadishu's clearance for the Middle East nation to explore her offshore resources.

"There is an offer from Somalia. They are saying: 'There is oil in our seas. You are carrying out these operations with Libya, but you can also do them here," he said.

Noting that the move is critical for Ankara, he added: "Therefore, there will be steps that we will take in our operations there."

However, the Turkish leader did not give further details about the deal or how Ankara will go about the offer in the coming days, Reuters reported.

Turkey's major projects in Somalia

For over a decade now, Turkey has been a key donor for Mogadishu administration, a move viewed as a strategy to elbow Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar from the Horn of Africa.

Turkish engineers have been repairing roads within Somalia. Recently, a bomb blast at the Afgoye junction killed two construction workers.

Over the weekend, state media reported, another explosion killed three, injuring dozens in a construction site. The survivors were airlifted to Turkey for treatment.

Even after last month's deadly explosion in which 90 people died, it's Turkey that offered critical aid by airlifting the injured people for advanced treatment.

Military aid from Ankara

Besides infrastructural development, Turkey has also invested in the Somalia National Army (SNA), training dozens, in the process.

Al-Shabaab, which seeks to control the government, has in the process targeted Ankara in its lethal attacks given the military aid to Somalia.

In a statement, the group said, "we were targeting a Turkish convoy and unfortunately, civilians are affected. We apologize for this."

Turkey promised to investigate the claims before giving "accurate responses to such unfortunate statements."

FGS increasingly under pressure

But the increased presence of Turkey in Somalia could further escalate tensions given that the country is preparing for polls.

Abdishakur has been a victim of the government's draconian unconstitutional directives including the recent attempts to block him from addressing students in Kuala Lumpur.

Somalia needs foreign aid to sustain her ballooning budget, with the country already accumulating close to $4.8 billion debts.

Prime Minister Hassan Khaire has held several shuttle diplomatic meetings in a bid to have the debts written off by the international community, local media reported.


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