Suna Times – Former deputy head of Somalia’s Intelligence Agency Abdisalan Guled said hundreds of Somali recruits deployed by Eritrea to Tigray region were killed in the initial offensive in the northern Ethiopian region.
Former deputy head of the Somali Intelligence Agency (NISA) Abdisalan Guled, in an interview with Kulmiye radio based in Mogadishu, stated that he received information saying that 370 Somali recruits trained by Eritrea had been killed in the recent war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
“Following an investigation and contacts I made with different people, it was confirmed that 4000 Somali soldiers participated in Tigray war, who were fighting alongside Ethiopian and Eritrean forces against the TPLF,” said Abdisalan Guled.
“I was shocked when I was told that nearly 400 of those Somali recruits trained by Eritrea were killed and hundreds more were wounded [in Tigray war], and those wounded were returned to Eritrea.”
Abisalan Guled citing Ethiopian military sources told Kulmiye radio that “only a few men have survived from recruits numbered between 900 and 1100 who had been deployed on just one frontline, nearly all of them were killed,”
Speaking further, Mr Guled said he was told that the Somali recruits thrown into the battle were led by Eritrean military officers.
“When i asked the officers, they told me that Somalia had signed agreement with Ethiopia and Eritrea that required Farmajo [Somalia’s president] to prepare Somali troops who would take part in the stabilization of Tigray, which he accepted,”
The former deputy head of the Somali Intelligence Services said president Farmajo had requested his Eritrean counterpart not to return those soldiers to their country if he does not win reelection.
“I have heard two days ago that president Farmajo said ‘those soldiers should not be returned home, if I win reelection the matter will be discussed with me, if I don’t return, it will be dealt with those in power but during this sensitive election time I should not be given information on whether they are alive or dead’.”
A senior diplomat has told me it is true Eritrea deployed some 300 Somali army recruits to Tigray in initial phase of war as cannon fodder. Most are now dead.
Eritrea is training 000s of Somali soldiers.
If news fully confirmed the political cost for Farmajo could be grave.
— Rashid Abdi (@RAbdiAnalyst) January 18, 2021