Thursday, May 24, 2012
Gunmen killed a Turkish man in Somalia's restive capital Mogadishu Wednesday, officials and witnesses said.
“A Turkish man was killed after two gunmen opened fire on him in front of a hotel he was staying at, the attackers escaped after the shooting,” said Mohamed Moalim Dahir, a witness.
He was killed in Mogadishu's Bakara market, the city's economic hub.
“We have reports a foreign national with Turkish citizenship was killed in Bakara, there are investigations going on,” said a Somali government official who asked not to be named.
Several local residents also reported the victim was Turkish.
Turkey last year launched a major diplomatic, economic and humanitarian push in war-torn Somalia, one of the very few nations to set up an embassy in the capital.
It was opened following a visit in August by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the first major leader to visit the Somali capital in almost 20 years. Direct flights between Somalia and Turkey started in March.
A stream of Turkish aid workers have been sent to Mogadishu, with some even bringing their families to a city that has been dubbed the most dangerous in the world.
“We don't know what he was doing in Bakara but he told some people he was a businessman, but the killers took his bag after the shooting,” said Abdihakin Mohamed, who heard the gun shots and saw the dead body lying in a pool of blood.
The Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu could not be reached for comment, and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the shooting. However, Al-Qaeda allied Shebab insurgents have launched a series of guerrilla attacks in Mogadishu and have vowed to topple the Western-backed government and its supporters.