Tuesday January 19, 2021
Mogadishu (HOL) - The Somali government has denied reports that Somali soldiers trained in Eritrea took part in the fighting between the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and the TPLF in Ethiopia's Tigray province.
Federal Information Minister Osman Abukar Dubbe said no Somali soldiers were involved in Ethiopia's fighting, let alone killed.
"There are no Somali soldiers who have been enlisted by Ethiopia or taken part in the Tigray region fighting."
He added that Ethiopia did not request troops or assistance for Somalia.
Former officials and politicians say they have received information that many young Somalis have been killed in the latest fighting in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region after the Somali government sent them to take part in the battle.
Dubbe told the BBC that various international partners were training Somali forces but categorically denied that they were involved in the Ethiopia-Tigray conflict.
The denial comes as several media reports have surfaced in recent days of family members who allege that their loved ones have died in the conflict. In the videos, teary-eyed parents explain that they have lost contact with their children. They claim that their children travelled to Eritrea for military training. From there, the families believe they were inserted into Tigray to fight alongside the Eritreans and Ethiopian fighters.
It is not the first time that Somali soldiers have been accused of participating in foreign conflicts. Earlier this year, a host of middle east media outlets - mainly in UAE, Egpyt and Saudi Arabia - have published reports alleging that Somali soldiers were taking part in the fighting in Libya at the behest of Turkey and Qatar. These allegations have mostly been unfounded.