The Turkish government has delivered 450 of its newly designed and manufactured MPT-76 assault rifles to Somalia to fight al Shabaab.
This was revealed in a report by the Turkish news agency Anadolu saying the government ordered local defense industry companies to mass produce the country’s first locally designed rifle which has passed 47 NATO tests.
The MPT-76 rifles are going to replace the German G-3 rifles used by the Turkish Armed Forces, the report added.
Somalia is under an United Nations-imposed arms embargo for 25 years after the civil war began. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appealed with the international community to lift the embargo to allow the country to purchase heavy weapons to fight al Shabaab.
The restrictions were loosened in 2007 when the UN Security Council resolved that the embargo would not apply to weapons supplied for use by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
It was further loosened in 2013 to allow the sale of light weapons. President Abdullahi Mohamed has said several times that with light weapons and the restrictions, they cannot defeat al shabaab which is equally using light weapons.
He has called for military support from neighbouring Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti who have responded positively to renew the offensive against the jihadist group.
Turkey recently opened a military base in Mogadishu to train Somali soldiers.