Qatar and Turkey may be selecting more than 5,000 mercenaries from Somalia to fight in Libya's civil war and are also planning to send officers from this East African country to continue supporting the National Accord Government (GNA) of Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj in its fight against the Libyan National Army (LNA) of Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
The Somali Guardian and Al-Ain News reported on this Turkish-Qatari plan to continue interfering in the Libyan war conflict. According to the information revealed, the axis formed by the Gulf monarchy and the Eurasian country is said to have recruited these elements in exchange for amounts of money and the option of obtaining Qatari citizenship. With these claims, the Somali troops ended up becoming paid soldiers sent for training to camps in Eritrea, with the ultimate goal of landing in Libya to fight on the front lines alongside the GNA, based in the capital Tripoli and internationally recognized by the United Nations (UN) since 2016.
The armed clash in the North African country has become a game board in which various international actors with interests in Libyan territory participate due to its geostrategic position in the Mediterranean and its resources, mainly oil. The Tripoli government of Fayez Sarraj receives the aforementioned support from Turkey and Qatar, and from Italy as well; meanwhile, the LNA of Khalifa Haftar, associated with the other eastern executive of Tobruk, is supported by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt (these three, recognised rivals of Qatar), France and Russia.
As noted by the Somali Guardian website, quoted by Al-Ain News, this Turkish-Qatari plan to bring Somali mercenaries to Libya came about after the visit of Ottoman Defense Minister Hulusi Akar to Qatar, where it was determined that Doha would take over the mission.
The Somali Guardian and Al-Ain News reported that Somalia is talking about possible deceptions and promises of money and Qatari citizenship for these Somalis whose destiny is to fight in the framework of the Libyan war.
Recently, it was also known that another 2,000 Somalis could have already arrived in Libya to fight alongside the militias affiliated to the GNA, according to information published by the digital Sky News.
According to the sources to which Sky News has had access, many of the Somalis who now join the ranks of the GNA have Qatari citizenship. In addition, a report published a year ago reveals that several Somali intelligence officers received training in Doha, according to the newspaper mentioned above. In recent weeks, speculation that Ankara might replace the Syrian mercenaries it sends to the North African nation with people of other nationalities such as Somalia has only grown.
In recent years, Turkey has extended its tentacles in Somalia by signing agreements in various fields, which has allowed the Eurasian nation to expand its influence in this region. In October 2017, the country presided over by Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced its decision to establish a second military base outside Turkish territory and the chosen location was Somalia. This base is located just two kilometers south of the country's capital, Mogadishu, and has an area of approximately 400 hectares.
Turkey had already sent mercenaries of Syrian origin and other nationalities to Libya to fight alongside the GNA. According to various media, many of them would be attached to groups linked in the past to jihadist terrorist entities such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda.