Parents Protest in Somalia over Recruits ‘Sold’ and Deployed in Ethiopia’s Tigray

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Parents of more than 4000 missing Somali recruits missing since going to Eritrea for a military training have staged a massive protest in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu on Thursday, days after UN report confirmed the youths were used as cannon fodder in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

It has come just hours after former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said the youths “were sold” and accused government officials of conspiring against the public by deploying unemployed youths in a war zone far beyond the borders of their country.

Some of the mothers were chanting slogans against the government and the outgoing president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, whom they accuse of being responsible for the secret process in which the youths were enlisted and sent to fight in neighboring Ethiopia.

One of the mothers sheds tears as she attends the demonstration after her only son has gone missing since traveling to Eritrea for a military training. She says “he was sold” and “I will never forgive” those who were behind the secret scheme.

Families of the thousands of the missing recruits demanded an immediate explanation from the government on their whereabouts.

UN report confirmed on Tuesday that Somali soldiers were deployed in Ethiopia’s Tigray region to fight alongside Ethiopian and Eritrean forces there. It corroborated a Somaliguardian report in January which revealed that hundreds of the missing sons were used as cannon fodder in the war raging in the northern Ethiopian region.

Somali soldiers “were present around Aksum”, the UN said, though Ethiopia and Eritrea had earlier denied the assertions.

In a press conference in Mogadishu on Thursday, Somalia’s Information Minister Osman Abokor Dube denied the claim as “fabricated” and said there were no Somali troops taking part in the conflict in northern Ethiopia.

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