Somalia admits sending cadets to Eritrea, denies involving in Tigray war
MOGADISHU, Somalia - For the first time, Somalia has confirmed sending cadets to Eritrea for training but failed to give indications whether the soldiers were dispatched to the Tigray region of Ethiopia where Addis Ababa has been pursuing the TPLF.
Last year, Ethiopia National Defense Forces [ENDF] unleashed on the TPLF which had been accused of attacking the Northern Command, in a war that the Tigray region insists that Eritrean troops took part in. Several people died while others were displaced from their homes during the conflict.
Osman Abukar Dubbe, Somalia's information minister said that the country had dispatched soldiers for advanced training in Asmara but insisted that they did not take part in the Tigray war, which lasted for about two months before the capture of Mekelle.
However, Dubbe failed to account for the whereabouts of the soldiers following complaints from their families that they have never been reached out to since the commencement of the Tigray crisis, where the soldiers are believed to have died.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has been under pressure from the families and parliamentary committee on Foreign Relations to account for the soldiers in the past two weeks. However, Villa Somalia maintains that no soldier was deployed to the conflict-hit Tigray region.
A former senior intelligence chief from Somalia had last week claimed nearly 400 Somali soldiers were killed during the Tigray crisis, citing impeccable sources from the Ethiopian National Defense Forces. The soldiers are believed to have been dispatched from Eritrea.
On Wednesday, the US ordered Eritrean troops to leave Tigray having confirmed "beyond reasonable doubts" that they were involved in various crimes including rape and sexual harassment. Despite the claims, Eritrea is yet to respond to the accusations by Washington.