According to a UN assessment, Somalia National Army trainees fought with the Eritrean army in the Tigray region in what can only be described as an illegal international military action. The investigation also reveals the situation of other families whose sons were allegedly recruited to go to Ethiopia but never arrived.
The report on the soldiers also indicated that they had a presence surrounding the city of Aksum, despite the Mogadishu government’s denials that they were involved in the battle.
The report covered human rights infractions that had previously been on the table, as well as the deployment of Eritrean soldiers in the region. Ethiopia first denied Eritrean forces were involved in the operation against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), but later acknowledged their presence and announced their withdrawal.
Hundreds of Somali families protested the government in January 2021, stating that their children had been trained in Eritrea and were being sent to the conflict as “mercenaries” against the TPLF in Ethiopia. In November 2020, the TPLF attacked national army soldiers in the region in a political battle with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Despite Ethiopia’s large-scale campaign to seize Mekelle, the capital of Tigray province, tensions persist in some areas. Human rights atrocities in the province have been accused by Eritrean and Ethiopian forces, including massacres, rapes, and torture.
On June 1, the UN World Food Program (WFP) reported that 5.2 million people, or 91 percent of the region’s population, were in need of immediate food assistance.