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Mohamud visited the soldiers at their training camps this week, becoming the first time the missing recruits were seen in public since 2019.
MOGADISHU, Somalia - After returning from Asmara on Monday, Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held the parents of the soldiers trained in Eritrea who were held in the camps against their will for one year after ending two-year training began in 2019.
The president who is less than two months in office paid a four-day visit to Asmara to see with his eyes the situation of the missing military recruits after reports that they fought in the Tigray region.
Villa Somalia released a deeply touching video showing the president burst into tears during the meeting of the desperate and traumatized parents who never heard from their children for 3 years.
They thanked the president for his commitment to reunite the children with their families. The mothers and fathers had tired of demanding the return of their sons from Farmajo's government in 2021.
I, as a father do feel your pain and grieve. Your children are alive. I left behind for them cash to pay for Sim Cards and Mobile phones to call you. They will come home soon. Do worry anymore," said Mohamud.
The soldiers estimated 5,000 were recruited from the south and central regions of Somalia by Fahad Yasin, the right-hand man of former president Farmajo after luring the school boys with job opportunities in Qatar.
The worry of the parents increased after a United Nations report in June last year revealed that thousands of Somali troops had taken to Ethiopia’s Tigray region to fight against TPLF.
This prompted protests by parents in Mogadishu streets last year who said they feared their sons were killed in the fight. But, the former Government insisted they are alive and never participated in the Ethiopian conflict.
Last week, a spokesman for the president Abdikarin Kaar said several soldiers died during the training and some from natural causes. It's not yet clear how many are alive and will be returned.