Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



First batch of Somali soldiers returns from Eritrea

In this June 2018 photo, Somali soldiers stand at a Somali military base, near the site of an attack by al-Shabab in which a US soldier was killed and four others injured.   -  
Copyright © africanews
Farah Abdi Warsameh/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


On Wednesday (Dec. 21), Somalia’s defence minister announced the return of the first batch of 5,000 Somali troops sent to train in Eritrea.

It is during a press conference outside the Ministry of Information in Mogadishu, that the minister gave more details.

The training of the soldiers was due to end last year but their return was delayed by former president Farmajo.

"Today, I would like to share with you a good news that is important for the Somali people and and a meaningful point in the fight against al-Shabaab," Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur said.

"The first batch of Somali soldiers trained in Eritrea have returned to the country and the remaining will come back in the coming days. Those trained soldiers will be part of the fight against the al-Shabaab," he added.

Terrorist group Al-Shabaab was forced out of the country's main urban centres around 10 years ago but continue to wage war against Somalia' government and civilians. The al-Qaeda-linked has also carried out attacks in Kenya and is accused of targetting Ethiopia.

"In the last six months, we have liberated more territories from the group in some regions of the country, especially in the Hirshabelle and Galmudug states."

Somalia has suffered from decades of civil war, political violence and an Islamist insurgency.

Even though president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited the troops in Eritrea last July; their return is set to end months of worry among families who feared they might have been recruited under false pretence.

The UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker, in June last year referred to "reports that Somali soldiers were moved from military training camps in Eritrea to the frontline in Tigray, where they accompanied Eritrean troops" supporting Ethiopian federal forces against rebels.

The president said Monday, bringing all the soldiers home would take until January.

View more