NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – The United Nations has revealed the whereabouts of missing Somali recruits who were sent to Eritrea for a military training by Somalia’s federal government and were later deployed as cannon fodder to the war raging in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
It comes after Somaliguardian reported on January 16 that Eritrea deployed hundreds of Somali recruits in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and became the first media to break the news of whereabouts of thousands of missing Somali youths who had been sent to train in Eritrea.
UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker said Somali soldiers were moved from military training camps in Eritrea to the front line areas in Tigray where they fought alongside Eritrean troops.
“In addition to reports of the involvement of Eritrean troops in the Tigray conflict, the Special Rapporteur also received information and reports that Somali soldiers were moved from military training camps in Eritrea to the front line in Tigray, where they accompanied Eritrean troops as they crossed the Ethiopian border,” the report reads.
It corroborates Somaliguardian’s account that the Somali recruits accompanied Eritrean troops as they crossed over the border into Ethiopia’s Tigray region after fighting between Ethiopian forces and TPLF erupted in the region in November of last year.
Somalia’s government denied the report as baseless, though former deputy spy chief Abdisalam Guled later said nearly 400 Somali soldiers trained in Eritrea died in the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
“It is also reported that Somali fighters were present around Aksum.” the report added.
Protests staged by parents, whose sons are missing since traveling to Eritrea, broke out across various cities in Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu and families demanded an explanation from the government on the whereabouts of the recruits.
Amid growing anger at the government’s decision to send the youths to the conflict in Eritrea, parliamentary committee called for a fact-finding mission sent to Asmara and thorough investigation into the matter.
Speaker of Somalia’s upper house of parliament Abdi Hashi Abdullahi called on the government to give an explanation on the whereabouts of the missing sons and answer demands by the families of recruits deployed to the war in the embattled northern Ethiopian region.
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