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The Turkish Army will open its largest foreign military base in the Somali capital Mogadishu next month during a ceremony expected to be attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Army General Staff Chief General Hulusi Akar as well as top Somali government officials.
According to Turkish newspaper ‘Yeni Safak’, soldiers from the Somali National Army (SNA) will be trained in batches of 500 per intake at the base. The 400-hectare property will house three military academies, dormitories and military supply depots.
The facility, under construction since March 2015, is in line with a bilateral agreement signed earlier, which provided for Turkish assistance with military training and equipment.
It also provided for direct funding and material assistance for education, infrastructural development, human resources and skills training.
Speaking during a tour of the facility last week, Somali defence minister General Abdulkadir Ali Dini said his country was grateful the Turkish Army had selected Somalia as host for its largest foreign base.
In a comment posted on his official Twitter account, Somali President Mohammad Abdullah Muhammad Farmajo confirmed the Turkish military
base would be opened soon.
“Turkey’s largest military base in the world is almost complete. Soon the Somali Army will return strongly,” Farmajo said.
Built at an estimated cost of US$50 million, the base will provide Turkey with an opportunity to project its military power into the Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Rim (IOR).
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) has announced the deployment of a military medical unit to help the Somali government cope with the humanitarian crisis spawned by years of successive drought.
Malaysian Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said following cabinet approval of a Somali government request, troops and essential assets will be deployed to Mogadishu shortly as cabinet had approved the Somali government request for help. The unit will deploy from the Saudi capital Riyadh, from where it has been supporting evacuation missions for Malaysian nationals in war-torn Yemen.
“The decision to deploy troops was reached after my meeting with Somalia Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omer Arteh Ghalib. He requested assistance in the provision of aid in terms of food, medicine and expertise of the Armed Forces’ medical unit.
“Three officers and 17 personnel from the Armed Forces Medical Corps will be sent to Somalia. An infantry unit, consisting of an officer and 10 men, will provide security for the Malaysian delegation. Food and medical supplies will be flown to Somalia via a Hercules C-130 aircraft,” Hishammuddin said.
Further, he said the Saudi-based unit was chosen for the Somali mission because through the Yemeni operations, it had gained local experience and expertise and adapted to the operating environment in the Gulf of Aden, the same as that prevailing in the Horn of Africa region.