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Somalia: Whereabouts of soldiers remain unknown, relatives seek answers

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Faduma Moallim Abdulle is searching for answers about his son’s whereabouts.

The emotional mother is among several others whose children were secretly deployed from training camps in Eritrea to fight in Ethiopia’s Tigray northern region.

"The president of the country was sworn in to serve the nation. That doesn't mean ignoring our concerns, we ask him to tell us whether our children are still alive or dead. If they are still alive, he (the president) should enable us to communicate with them", Faduma said.

Pressure is mounting on the Somalian state to explain the fate of the soldiers. The government has vehemently denied accusations that Somali troops were sent to battlefields in Tigray.

Abdisalam Guleid is former deputy director of the Somali National Security and Intelligence Agency.

"The (Ethiopian) officials confirmed to me with great concern that the Eritrean government deployed Somali trainees in the war, noting they don't know if there is an agreement between two countries (Somalia and Eritrea) on this issue. The officials further said that many Somali soldiers were unfortunately killed there. The Ethiopian officials told me 370 Somali soldiers were killed", Guleid said.

Some lawmakers have reportedly written to Somalia’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on the issue. The whereabouts of the missing soldiers is still unclear.

The plight of their families raises questions for politicians as they prepare for a fraught national election slated for February.