Suspected Turkish drone attack claims lives of more than 20 in Somalia.

A drone strike just outside the Somali capital claimed the lives of more than 22 individuals and left 21 wounded, including numerous children, according to an account provided by a witness and a relative of the victims to The Washington Post. Two security sources, speaking anonymously due to lack of authorization to engage with the media, attributed the strike to a Turkish drone.

These reports are likely to intensify concerns regarding the proliferation of drones, which is resulting in a significant increase in civilian casualties with minimal accountability. Witness Daud Hassan Mohamed recounted that the strike occurred on a dwelling situated in an agricultural area during the evening following iftar, the meal marking the end of daily fasting for Muslims during Ramadan.

“A single airstrike initially targeted the victims. However, as people rushed to the scene to provide aid, they were subjected to subsequent airstrikes,” Mohamed stated. “What unfolded amounted to a massacre.”

Mohamed indicated that approximately 15 children and several women were among the casualties. The injured sought medical attention at Madina Hospital in Mogadishu, though doctors there were not immediately reachable for comment.

Detailing the strike’s location in an area referred to as Baqdaad or “Baghdad,” approximately seven kilometers from the town of Alifow, northeast of Mogadishu, Mohamed clarified that there had been no recent hostilities in the vicinity. However, clashes had occurred the day prior in a nearby village between Somali paramilitary forces and al-Shabab insurgents.

Al-Shabab operatives typically refrain from openly seeking medical assistance in government-held regions like Mogadishu due to fear of arrest.

Turkey frequently conducts drone operations in Somalia in support of Somali government forces. As a significant benefactor and close ally of Mogadishu, Turkey oversees Somalia’s Gorgor, or “Eagle,” commandos, and manages the airport and port through commercial agreements. Mogadishu is also home to Turkey’s largest overseas military base.

Requests for comments directed at the Turkish government and the Somali information minister remained unanswered at the time of reporting. A spokesperson for Africa Command confirmed that the United States had not conducted any strikes in the area.

Abdulkadir Mayow, a relative of multiple victims, communicated with The Post from Madina Hospital. Providing an incomplete roster of fatalities and injuries, Mayow listed four deceased women and eight injured women. He highlighted the critical condition of five children and two women at the hospital, noting that a 4-year-old girl was the sole survivor from her family among the wounded.

Mayow disclosed that the strike targeted families belonging to the Gorgaarte subclan who had sought refuge in the fields after fleeing conflict approximately three years ago. His account of the strike’s location, timing, and circumstances, based on testimonies from the wounded, aligned with Mohamed’s narrative, including the occurrence of multiple strikes targeting those rendering aid.

“I was born and raised in the vicinity where the strike occurred but was in Mogadishu when it transpired. Upon learning of the incident and the victims’ arrival at Madina Hospital, I hurried here,” Mayow remarked. “There was no justification for the indiscriminate violence that unfolded last night… They’ve endured droughts, floods, conflict, and now this.”

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