Erdogan delays Somalia trip to attend Saudi king’s funeral

NAIROBI/ANKARA: Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has postponed Friday’s planned trip to Somalia to attend the funeral of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, Somali and Turkish sources said, a day after a bomb targeted a Turkish delegation in the capital Mogadishu.

“It’s just a postponement. He will be coming to Somalia after the funeral but we don’t know the exact date or the time,” Daud Aweis, spokesman for the Somali presidency, told Reuters.

Sources in Erdogan’s office said the Turkish leader would go to Riyadh for the funeral on Friday but would continue his Africa program on Saturday with a visit to Djibouti, and is expected to go to Somalia on Sunday.

A suicide bomber on Thursday rammed a car laden with explosives into the gate of a Mogadishu hotel where Turkish delegates were meeting their Somali counterparts, killing two security guards.

Islamist al Shabaab militants, who have in the past attacked Turkey’s embassy in Mogadishu, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Turkish delegates were unharmed and sources within Erdogan’s office said the attack would not deter Erdogan from returning to Mogadishu for the first time since 2011, when he became the first non-African leader to visit Somalia in nearly 20 years.


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