ADDS STATEMENT FROM NIGERIA
By Hassan Isilow and Mohammed Dhaysane
JOHANNESBURG (AA) - Leaders of African countries and continental bodies on Monday expressed their condolences and showed solidarity with Ankara after a strong earthquake hit southern Türkiye and Syria.
Some of those who expressed condolences included the presidents of Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Burundi, and Gambia, among others.
Continental bodies included the African Union, the East African Community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
"Africa stands in unwavering solidarity and sorrow with the government and people of #Turkiye and #Syria following the devastating earthquake that led to the deaths of more than a thousand innocent people and wreaking terrible infrastructural damage," Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, wrote in a brief statement on Twitter.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari pledged to support the two friendly countries in the wake of the earthquakes that left at least 2,316 people dead and 13,293 injured in Türkiye. In Syria, at least 1,293 were killed and 3,411 others wounded, according to the government and rescuers.
Buhari "wishes those injured a speedy recovery and assures that the prayers and thoughts of Nigerians are with the many affected by this severe disaster and its aftershocks," presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement.
Adesina added that the president had assured that Nigeria was ready to offer "full support in any way possible" to both quake-hit nations.
Macky Sall, the president of Senegal, extended his heartfelt condolences to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Bashar al-Assad, following the earthquake.
"Peace to the souls of the victims and speedy recovery to the injured," he wrote on Twitter.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud also offered his deepest condolences to the Turkish people and the president.
"On behalf of the Somali People and Government, I offer my deepest condolences to the Turkish people, and President @RTErdogan, due to the earthquake that occurred in Kahramanmaras and felt in many cities, and wish a speedy recovery to the injured," he wrote.
Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo also released a statement, extending condolences to Türkiye and Syria over "the devastation and the tragic loss of lives."
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the survivors, and we pray that our fellow Ghanaian, Christian Atsu, is found safe and sound," he said referring to a football player with Turkish club Hatayspor, based in one of the provinces affected by the quakes.
Gambian President Adama Barrow also condoled with Türkiye and Syria sending well wishes and prayers for the victims and their families.
Burundi's President Evariste Ndayishimiye also expressed sadness for the numerous deaths, devastation and destruction caused by the earthquakes in Türkiye.
"This is one of the most powerful quakes to have hit the region, leading to the tragic loss of life and destruction of property. I assure the brotherly peoples of Turkey and Syria of my great compassion and of the good will of the people of Kenya in this time of profound grief," Foreign Minister Alfred Matua said.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) a regional block in the Horn of Africa said it is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of lives and destruction as a result of the earthquake.
The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry also expressed condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wished a speedy recovery to those injured "in the tragic calamities."
The East African Community, a block of six countries, also offered condolences to the governments and people of Türkiye and Syria.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa expressed deep sadness at the large-scale loss of life and injuries inflicted by the earthquake in both countries.
"Our nation and Government are deeply saddened by the unthinkable loss of life in Türkiye and Syria, and by the vast damage to social and economic infrastructure with which the two governments and populations are now confronted," Ramaphosa said in a statement late on Monday.
He said his heart went out to families who lost loved ones or were searching for relatives. He wished the injured survivors a full recovery.
Ramaphosa also expressed his appreciation to the South African humanitarian aid organization, Gift of the Givers, which is joining the international response in Türkiye and Syria.
*James Tasamba in Kigali, Rwanda; Aurore Bonny in Douala, Cameroon; Olanrewaju Kola in Lagos, Nigeria; and Enoch Fiifi Forson in Accra, Ghana contributed to this report.