Somalia PM Roble under pressure over “missing” soldiers training in Eritrea


Somalia PM Roble under pressure over “missing” soldiers training in Eritrea

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble is yet again under pressure to issue a statement over missing young soldiers who are reportedly training in Eritrea, but whose whereabouts have been questioned by their parents.

For the last four months, hundreds of parents have been protesting in Somalia, demanding to know the whereabouts of the young soldiers, who are said to have been airlifted to Eritrea in 2019-2020 for training. The government has remained mum despite admitting that indeed, there are soldiers training in Eritrea.

Abdirizak Mohamed, a federal MP, now wants Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to come clean about the soldiers, noting that the committee that was appointed by OPM should release the report for the sake of anxious parents who are in darkness over the matter.

“Mr. PM Mohamed Roble I am following up on the Somali conscripts covertly trained in Eritrea. The UN report alleged the Somali recruits were involved in the Tigray war, in response u appointed a committee to investigate. Could u update parents of recruits on the status of the investigation,” he said in a tweet.

Multiple sources intimated to Garowe Online that the exact number could be about 5,000-7,000 but a number of them are said to have died or escaped from training grounds. Initially, they were told that they were to travel to Qatar for military training.

Early this week, one of the soldiers who allegedly escaped from training with five others, died in Afgoye after a scuffle with his friend. The young soldier told reporters in April that the training conditions in Eritrea were “extremely harsh for us”.

A report by the UN Special Rapporteur to Eritrea claimed that hundreds of Somali soldiers training in Eritrea crossed over to the Tigray region in Ethiopia where they reportedly helped Eritrea and ENDF in exterminating the Tigray community in pursuit of Tigray People’s Liberation Front [TPLF] fighters or TDF. Somalia has since denied the claims.

Information Minister Osman Abukar Dubbe, while admitting that indeed there are soldiers training in Eritrea, accused politicians of “hijacking” the noble project, adding that it is a matter of national security that shouldn’t be subject to discussion.

“In many countries, politicians avoid discussing bilateral Defense and Security matters or issues touching on forces because it is deemed a Supreme national secret. Unfortunately, our Somalia politicians have made the politicization of our forces a hobby which is dangerous,” he said.

There were reports that the young soldiers were being trained so that they help protect President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo continue clinging to power, but authorities in Mogadishu rejected the claims. They are set to return home sometime late this year.

GAROWE ONLINE

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Publish date : 2021-07-15 10:22:08

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