Wounded Somalis receiving treatment in Turkey: Health minister
People wounded in the massive terrorist Oct. 14 bombings in Somalia, the deadliest ever attack to hit the conflict-torn country, were flown to Turkey and are receiving treatment, Health Minister Ahmet Demircan stated on Oct. 17.
An A400M type transfer plane belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Oct. 16 to carry those wounded in the attacks.
The army plane carrying 35 wounded Somalis landed at an Ankara airport, where ambulances were at the ready to rush the victims to hospital late on Oct. 16.
Turkey has strongly condemned the bombings that killed nearly 300 people and left 300 wounded.
The blast occurred at a junction in Hodan, a bustling commercial district of Mogadishu which has many shops, hotels and businesses.
Turkey sent planes with medical supplies in the wake of the attack and Demircan was in Mogadishu on Oct. 16 to coordinate the transfer of the injured.
“Turkey has properly carried out its humanitarian duty and helped the wounded by providing necessary treatment,” Demircan said on Oct. 17 during a press briefing at the Ankara Numune Research and Training Hospital, where he received information regarding the condition of the wounded.
He said Turkey took immediate action “upon the orders of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım” to help the Somalis in need.
“Turkey is a major country that feels the pain of the oppressed,” he claimed. “Immediate action was taken after the attack and we made the necessary preparations here as the Health Ministry. Initially we formed response teams and a massive ambulance plane took off before we headed to Somali as the ministry.”
Demircan also claimed that “no other country” is present on the ground in the Horn of Africa nation, taking the opportunity to blast the United Nations.
“It was a scene where even the United Nations wasn’t active,” he said, noting that Somalis injured in the attack received urgent treatment at the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Hospital, constructed by the Turkish authorities and located around five kilometers from the scene of the bombing.
“Our doctor friends made the necessary interventions in our hospital, which includes 220 beds,” Demircan added.
Some 35 severely wounded Somalis have been transferred to Turkey, accompanied by health personnel throughout the seven-hour flight, the minister stated, adding that no other wounded Somalis will be brought to the country for now.
In September, Turkey inaugurated the largest foreign-run military training center in Somalia, where local troops are due to take over the protection of a nation threatened by al-Shabaab, a militant group aligned with al-Qaeda.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility after the bombings, but al-Shabaab has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in its bid to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government.