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Turkey, Somalia sign economic partnership pact

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Turkey and Somalia on Friday signed a pact to boost their strategic economic partnership.

“We wish to deepen relations with Somalia. Turkey’s investment in Somalia stands at over $100 million,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag told a signing ceremony alongside his Somali counterpart Mahdi Mohammed Gulaid.

“This figure forms a foundation to prompt bigger cooperation in the days to come.”

He predicted that the bilateral trade volume would rise to $200 million from about $120 million in 2016.

He spoke at the opening of a Turkey-Somalia Joint Economic Commission meeting in the capital Ankara co-chaired by himself and Gulaid.

Akdag added that both countries should carry through 2016 memorandums of understanding in such areas as energy, mines, electricity, higher education, agriculture, and maritime affairs.

He added an expected free trade agreement between the two countries would boost trade ties.

Gulaid, for his part, said the meeting would maintain bilateral economic ties and bolster strategic cooperation in the years to come.

The countries also inked a memorandum of understanding on fishing and fisheries, signed by Turkey’s Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Ahmet Esref Fakibaba and Somali’s Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi Hashi.

“Now we have started work on the development of Somalia as well as [it] becoming a major economic power with the support of Turkey,” Hashi said following the signing ceremony, adding that the pact would be the beginning of numerous future cooperation deals between the two countries.

Under the deal, Turkish fishermen will be able to fish in Somalia’s territorial waters.

Turkey and Somalia have long enjoyed friendly relations, as Turkey has invested in many areas to help modernize Mogadishu, the capital of the Horn of Africa country.

Last September, Turkey opened its largest military training academy abroad in Somalia.

Located south of Mogadishu, the training facility took some two years to build.

The facility spans over 4 square kilometers (1.54 square miles), and can train more than 1,500 troops at a time, according to the Somali government.

Somali News

Somali fisherwoman breaks boundaries in Mogadishu

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Riyan Abukar Ali is determined to succeed as a fisherwoman in Somalia, in a trade dominated by men.

She used be a tuk-tuk driver, but took to the seas off the coast of the capital Mogadishu when the social pressures of being a woman in her previous job became too much.

Video journalists: Alinur Hassan and Mohamud Abdisamad

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Ethiopian PM says they will continue to develop Berbera Port so Ethiopia and Somaliland can benefit

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Somalia’s al Shabaab denounces ex-spokesman as apostate who could be killed

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Somali al Shabaab Islamist militants, who have carried out frequent bombings in the capital, Mogadishu, said a former leader who defected to the government side was an apostate who could be killed.

Al Shabaab fell out with its former spokesman and deputy leader, Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, in 2013. He defected to the U.N.-backed government in August last year.

Al Shabaab has been fighting for years to try to topple Somalia’s central government and rule the Horn of Africa country according to its own interpretation of Islamic law.

“If Mukhtar Robow thinks he can destroy Islamic sharia and the mujahedeen, he is deluded. Allah will protect Islam and Jihad will not stop just because of you and your likes who joined the enemies,” Ali Mohamud Rage, al Shabaab’s spokesman, said in a video posted late on Monday.

It was not immediately possible to reach Robow for comment.

“No doubt, Mukhtar Robow left his religion and joined the disbelievers and the enemies are still the enemies,” al shabaab’s spokesman said.

“Anybody who joins the line of non-Muslims is an apostate who can be killed.”

A report by rights body Human Rights Watch released on Monday said al Shabaab had threatened and abducted civilians in Somalia’s Bay region to force communities to hand over their children for indoctrination and military training in recent months.

“Al Shabaab’s ruthless recruitment campaign is taking rural children from their parents so they can serve this militant armed group,” said Laetitia Bader, senior Africa researcher for the rights body.

The insurgents, who are allied with al Qaeda, were driven out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011. They have also since lost nearly all other territory they previously controlled after an offensive by Somali government troops and African Union-mandated AMISOM peacekeepers.

Al Shabaab, however, remains a formidable threat and has carried out bombings both in Mogadishu and other towns against military and civilian targets.

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