Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud arrived in Asmara on Saturday for four-day visit as his administration says there are preparations to return home about 5,000 soldiers missing since completing training in 2020.
Mohamud is set to hold talks with his Eritrean counterpart on a number of bilateral issues, his office said without giving further details.
He was welcomed at Asmara airport by his counterpart Isaias Afwerki and images released by Villa Somalia showed both presidents taking salutes from military personnel while standing on a raised platform.
At least 5,000 Somali soldiers have been missing in Eritrea after completing a military training, with their parents saying that they sons are held hostage by the Eritrean government. Some of the soldiers died inside training camps, president’s spokesman said this month.
Somali President is known for his sharp criticism of his predecessor Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s silence on the missing soldiers. Before his election in May, Mohamud repeated claims that the soldirs had been sold and used as cannon fodder in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict.
There are preparations by the government to return them home, Mohamud’s spokesman said as the President vows to launch an offensive to dislodge Al-Qaeda-aligned militants from vast swathes of territory it controls in south and central Somalia.