On Friday, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met in the Presidential Palace with a group representing the parents of Somali soldiers training in Eritrea.
President Mohamud informed the parents about the recruits who remained in Eritrea and pledged to repatriate them as soon as they finished their training.
The President assured the parents that he would uphold his commitment to return the recruits to their family and relatives.
Mohamud went on to say that the recruitment will be crucial in combating Al Shabaab.
The parental committee expressed gratitude to the President for prioritizing their child’s plight and promptly honoring his pledge, which allayed their fears. According to Villa Somalia, the parents expressed their gratitude for their child’s participation in the fight to rescue the country from Al-Shabaab.
The first set of Somali forces dispatched to Eritrea for training in 2019 and 2020 returned to Mogadishu in December.
The former Farmajo administration deployed 5,000 troops to a covert training program run by Somalia’s intelligence agency, NISA.
The recruits’ parents were concerned that their kids would be used as cannon fodder in the Ethiopian government’s battle against Tigray, in which Eritrea was an ally.
According to a UN report issued in June 2021, Eritrean-trained Somali recruits participated in hostilities.
The UN Rapporteur report on the human rights situation in Eritrea said that were reported that Somali fighters were relocated from military training facilities in Eritrea to the battle line in Tigray.
Both Somalia and Eritrea have categorically denied the charges.
Security analysts say President Mohamud took advantage of the recent peace agreement struck by Ethiopia’s federal government and the TPLF rebels, which concluded two years of heavy combat, to expedite return. It was originally reported that Somalia was unable to return the recruits owing to financial difficulties.
President Mohamud last met with the parental committee in July, after visiting the recruits at their military barracks in Eritrea.