Somali president’s son flees Turkey after fatal Istanbul accident: Reports

Turkish media say Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud crashed into and killed a motorcycle courier before leaving country.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
There was no immediate response from Somali President Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud or his office [File: Olivier Douliery/AFP]

The Somali president’s son allegedly killed a motorcycle courier in a traffic accident in Istanbul’s Fatih district, according to Turkish media reports, which said he fled the country after the incident.

Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the son of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, crashed into Yunus Emre Gocer with the car he was driving on November 30, the reports said on Saturday, quoting the official police report.

National daily Hurriyet reported that Gocer was thrown into the air by the impact and was seriously injured. Paramedics who arrived at the scene took him to hospital. But Gocer, a father of two, died on December 6.

The police report on the accident stipulated that the motorcycle rider did not violate any traffic rules. The car driver was found to be primarily at fault.

Police released Mohamud without any bail conditions after preliminary investigations into the accident, said daily newspaper Cumhuriyet.

Arrest warrant issued

The prosecution issued an international arrest warrant for the president’s son on Friday, days after he left the country, the reports said, adding that the suspect’s exit from Turkey was on record and he could not be reached by the authorities.

Police went to the suspect’s home only to find “he had been gone since December 2”, broadcaster A Haber reported.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu criticised the authorities for allowing the suspect to leave the country.

“He [Gocer] was taken from this life due to an accident caused by the son of the President of Somalia,” Imamoglu posted on X.

“We said we would follow the legal process, but the suspect left Turkey with his hands free. The pain of the victim’s family increased even more,” the mayor said.

“The mentality that turns a blind eye and allows this escape, unfortunately, is too weak to defend the rights of its own citizens in its own country,” he added.

There was no immediate response from either the Somali president or his office.

Turkey has steadily increased its footprint in Somalia in the past decade and is the Horn of Africa nation’s leading economic partner, notably in the construction, education and health sectors.

Ankara has been a significant source of aid to Somalia following a famine in 2011. Turkish engineers have helped to build infrastructure in Somalia, businesses have invested in the country and Turkish officers have trained Somali soldiers as part of efforts to build up the country’s army.

Source: Al Jazeera