Somali president’s son flees Turkiye after killing courier

Somali president’s son crashed into a Turkish motorcycle courier on a busy highway in Istanbul on November 30. Mohamed Hassan Sheikh Mahamud was driving a diplomatic registered car even though he is not attached to the Somali embassy or holds no official role while in Turkiye.

The victim, father of two young children, sole breadwinner, was declared dead 6 days later. Mohamed Hassan then fled to his home country of Somalia, despite clear instructions from Turkish police to remain in Turkiye while an investigation was carried out.

The Turkish prosecutor issued an international arrest warrant for Mohamed after a backlash from his coworkers and family members over the authorities’ handling of the case. The incident also drew opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s government, primarily Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu and former Turkish Ambassador to Somalia Kani Torun.

President Hassan Sheikh has a large family with two entrepreneurial wives and 20 children placed in key positions in his administration and spread across countries including Turkiye, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Tanzania, where he has invested a fortune that he illegitimately amassed during his previous and current term.

He, his family and his cronies are already above the law in Somalia. Their involvement in financial embezzlement and other abuses of power in Somalia has angered the Somali public, and many have expressed frustration with the clique’s rampant nepotism and corruption online and in local media. However, a few months ago, Mogadishu’s police chief vowed to crack down on anyone criticizing the president and his family.

It therefore remains to be seen whether the president will comply with the Turkish arrest warrant or at least listen to the former Turkish ambassador who is appealing to his Muslim faith to bring his son back to Turkiye so that he can face justice and compensate the victim’s family.