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Somali parents take to streets over 'missing' army recruits

June 10, 2021 at 6:44 pm

Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers can be seen training, [AMISOM Public Information/Flickr]

Somali parents today staged a protest in the capital Mogadishu, demanding the government disclose the whereabouts of their sons who were taken to Eritrea for military training, Anadolu Agency reports.

This fresh protest by the parents comes days after a UN human rights report, citing “credible sources”, said that Somali trainees have crossed to the Eritrean border along with the Eritrean forces to fight in Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region.

Bashir Sheikh Ali, the father of a recruit, told Anadolu Agency in Mogadishu they want the government to explain the recruiting process and the whereabout of their sons.

“Our son was very young and he was told that he was going to Qatar for training. He was told he will be paid well and become an army officer. But he was transferred to Eritrea. Since his departure, we never communicated with him,” Ali said.

“If the government does not have anything to hide, it should tell us if he is alive or dead,” he demanded.

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Halima Abdi, one of the protesting parents, told Anadolu Agency that they will continue the protest to pressure the government.

“We are not against our government. We are patriotic citizens, but the way our leaders are behaving right now is unacceptable. We need full information about our sons,” Abdi said.

Some families confirmed they spoke to their sons through the government communication channels.