Turkey inaugurates new military base in Somalia

Turkey inaugurates new military base in Somalia
Turkey has opened its latest overseas military base with a new camp set up to train Somali cadets to fight militants in East Africa.
2 min read
30 September, 2017

Turkey inaugurated its latest overseas military base on Saturday, with a new training centre in Somalia unveiled with a military parade.

It will be Somalia's largest foreign-run military training centre, and will see Somali cadets geared up to fight al-Shabaab militants.

Somalia's national army - which has been bolstered by the African Union's 22,000-strong AMISOM force - is expected to take over protection of the nation in the coming years.

African Union troops will start to withdraw from the country in October 2018 with Somali forces having to confront the Qaeda-aligned Shabaab militants alone.

The task of training the Somali army has been handled by the US, Kenya, UK and UAE. Around 200 Turkish soldiers and trainers will be stationed at Ankara's new military base, which is near Mogadishu's airport.

"This academy is quite different because the Turkish will train the forces and equip them with their military hardware so that they will not be left alone after the training," Somali General Ahmed Mohammed Jimale said during the inauguration ceremony.

About 1,500 Somali soldiers can be trained there at a time, making it the largest foreign-run military training centre in the country.

"We thank the Turkish government people and their government for standing up to help our country, this academy is opened at a time when we dearly need it," Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said.

Al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab have been fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Somalia since 2007.

It was pushed out of the capital in August 2011 and lost most of its other bastions in Somalia.

Yet the militants still control vast swathes of countryside, and have launched a number of attacks on the capital and against local and international military bases.