Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held a meeting with a committee representing the parents of Somali soldiers training in Eritrea at the Presidential Palace on Friday.
President Mohamud briefed the parents about the recruits who remained in Eritrea and promised that the government would repatriate them as soon as they completed their training.
The President guaranteed the parents that he would keep his promise to bring back the recruits to reunite with their families and relatives.
Mohamud added that the recruits will be instrumenal in defeating Al Shabaab.
The parental committee thanked the President for prioritizing their child’s situation and quickly fulfilling his promise, which alleviated their concerns. According to the Villa Somalia, the parents said they were honoured that their child would participate in the fight to liberate the country from Al-Shabaab.
In December, the first group of Somali troops sent to Eritrea for training in 2019 and 2020 arrived back in Mogadishu.
The previous Farmajo administration sent 5,000 troops in a covert training program that was operated by NISA, Somalia’s intelligence agency.
Parents of the recruits feared that their sons were being used as cannon fodder in the Ethiopian government’s war against Tigray, in which Eritrea was allied with Ethiopia.
A UN report in June 2021 alleged that the Eritrean-trained Somali recruits took part in hostilities.
The UN Rapporteur report on the human rights situation in Eritrea alleged that d reports that Somali soldiers were moved from military training camps in Eritrea to the front line in Tigray.
Somalia and Eritrea both strongly denied the allegations.
Security experts believed President Mohamud capitalized on the recent peace agreement -signed by Ethiopia’s federal government and the TPLF rebels that ended two years of intense fighting – to accelerate the repatriation. It was previously reported that Somalia could not bring the recruits home due to financial constraints.
President Mohamud last met with the parental committee in July following a trip to Eritrea, where he visited the recruits at their military barracks.