Military operation spokesman for the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a car bomb that targeted workers of a Turkish company killing four people in Somalia on Saturday.
Four people, including a Turkish national, and several other Turkish workers were injured after a suicide bomber attacked a road construction site in Somalia, security sources said on Saturday.
The company’s staff were working on the construction of a road between Mogadishu and Afgoye, northwest of the capital, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said.
The attack occurred outside the capital Mogadishu, according to residents in the area of the blast.
Turkey has been a major source of aid to Somalia following a famine in 2011 as Ankara seeks to increase its influence in the Horn of Africa, according to Reuters.
Last January, Somalia’s al-Shabaab insurgents took responsibility for a car bombing that wounded at least 15 people in Afgoye, with those injured comprising Turkish contractors as well as Somali nationals.
A group of Turkish engineers was also among those hit in late December 2019 in a blast at a checkpoint in Mogadishu that killed at least 90 people.
In recent years Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has become a close ally of the Somali government. Ankara has built schools, hospitals, and infrastructure and provided scholarships for Somalis to study in Turkey.
In 2017, Turkey launched its biggest overseas military base in Mogadishu.
A Turkish statement condemned the attack and pledged solidarity with the Somali government and the people.
In a separate statement, the US Africa Command said two coordinated airstrikes struck al-Shabaab compounds on Friday.
“Al-Shabaab remains a threat to Somalia’s future and U.S. interests, and we will continue to disrupt their efforts to terrorize civilians,” said US Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson in a statement.
“Our strikes help keep these terrorists off balance to help our partners then address deeper problems such as governance and development.”