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“There is a clear link between the missing Somali youths, the secret training camps and the Ethiopia-Eritrea-Somalia cooperation,” said renowned analyst Rashid Abdi. Three Horn experts in Africa agree that long before the war in Ethiopia, a military alliance existed between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and that Somalia eventually joined.
Rashid Abdi is the Horn of Africa analyst and security policy expert, now associated with the Sahan Group think tank in Nairobi. He was previously a key analyst in the International Crisis Group.
The secret training of Somali youths in Eritrean training camps, which Bistandsaktuelt mentioned this week, [See below] has shed new light on what analysts believe was a military alliance between the three countries. They also agree that Eritrean dictator Isaias – who was known to hate the TPLF leadership in Tigray – played a key role behind the scenes many months before the war in northern Ethiopia began.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared war on November 4, 2020. It came hours after Tigray forces carried out a pre-emptive strike and took control of several bases inside Tigray belonging to the government army. Several soldiers were killed.
“TPLF started the war”
“TPLF started the war”, has since become Ethiopia’s official explanation. Others have believed that the war started after a long escalation and increased tension between the parties.
The war cooperation between Ethiopia and Eritrea was revealed early on by international media. Despite this, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abyi Ahmed denied for several months that Eritrea was participating in the war. It was not until March 23, 2021, that the Peace Prize winner made a half-hearted admission of the relationship. By then, the media and human rights organizations had long ago linked the Eritreans to some of the most brutal abuses during the war, including the giant massacre in the holy city of Axum.
Already two years earlier, in March 2019, the first contingent of Somali young boys was sent from the airport in Mogadishu to Eritrea, under extreme secrecy.
Soldiers from the Ethiopian Amhara region were also welcomed by Eritrean dictator Isaias Afwerki. They received military training in Eritrean camps several months before the war broke out, while military transport planes were sent from Ethiopia to Eritrea in the dead of night, the New York Times has determined.
A clear link
Rashid Abdi, who has a background from the International Crisis Group and is an expert on security policy, was not even surprised by the news of the secret training of several thousand Somalis in Eritrea, he says.
– Even though the military part of this cooperation is kept secret, more than enough information has emerged – from various sources – to be able to establish that there is a defense pact. It is also, of course, impossible to carry out such a complicated and extensive operation as sending several thousand Somalis to Eritrea without an agreement in advance, he says by phone from Nairobi.
The analyst believes that Somalia’s connection to the military alliance between Ethiopia and Eritrea was clarified in the first quarter of 2019. – Tigray and the joint fight against TPLF had long been a central theme in the planning, he says and points out that there were a number of meetings between the three heads of state since the middle of the year in 2018.
According to Rashid Abdi, who is from Somalia himself, the case of the Eritrean military camps and the many rumors and news reports about participation in the Tigray war have led to strong reactions among many Somalis, both at the grassroots and in political circles.
Unusual and unconstitutional
– This is a very unusual operation. Sending Somalis for military training abroad basically requires the approval of parliament. It is a requirement of Somalia’s constitution. When it has not happened, it is also by definition illegal, says Rashid Abdi.
The former African Horn analyst for the International Crisis Group was among those who publicly warned that the Tigray War came several days before it broke out in November 2020. Today, Rashid Abdi is chief analyst for the Sahan Group and affiliated with the East African Rift Valley Institute in Nairobi. .
– I’m not smarter than others or a prophet, but I was positioned so that I regularly received credible information about troop movements. Ethiopian troops in Ogaden were suddenly reallocated, there was artillery fire from the Eritrean side as an incipient provocation against Tigray, along Tigray’s borders in the north, west and south there was a clear military escalation. Even diplomats in Nairobi saw the war coming, says Rashid Abdi.
However, the warnings from the ICG and others about an impending war were not taken seriously by the international community.
Two possible interpretations
– There are two possible interpretations of the Somalia recruits’ contribution to the Tigray war, says Africa’s Horn expert and professor Kjetil Tronvoll at Oslo New University College.
One is that the recruits were trained with a view to another purpose, but that they were then reallocated when the war suddenly broke out. In that case, it is natural to think that this was a decision in which Eritrean dictator Isaias Afwerki was very central. He is known as a very skilled and influential power player in the Horn of Africa, who would like to be the emperor of the Horn of Africa, and who will help create chaos in Ethiopia. The second interpretation is that this had already been agreed at a much earlier stage between the three heads of state, that it was a three-country alliance against Tigray and that this was Farmaajo’s contribution within the mutual military pact between the countries. For the Somali president, this was a way to show loyalty to Ethiopia. Mogadishu is in practice subordinate to Addis Ababa both in terms of security and finances. In the Somali debate, it is a common interpretation, says Tronvoll.
Not on the radar
– When did the regional leadership of Tigray – the TPLF leaders – know that there were three countries involved in military cooperation, as you have perceived it?
– The TPLF leadership always knew that Eritrea had an agreement with Ethiopia on military cooperation. They became aware of this already during the peace process between the two countries in 2018, where they themselves were excluded from influence. They initially viewed the reopening of the border between Tigray and Eritrea positively, but when Isaiah closed the border again on 31 December 2018, it became clear to them that the dictator of Eritrea had completely different motives than peace.
– Did they also know about Somalia’s military contribution?
– The Somalia force was never mentioned to me in conversations I had with TPLF spokesmen during this period. It was obviously not on the radar at the time.
Depending on Ethiopia
The Norwegian Somalia expert, professor at NMBU Stig Jarle Hansen, is also sure that a military alliance between the three countries exists and has existed. He considers Eritrea and Ethiopia to be the two strongest partners in the alliance, while Somalia is far weaker.
– Security cooperation between Somalia and Ethiopia has existed for a long time, both before and during Abiy’s reign in Ethiopia. This has benefited Farmajo during his presidency. He is dependent on Abiy Ahmed in Ethiopia to secure his grip on power, Hansen says.
The professor, who has been researching Somalia for a number of years, says that Ethiopian forces have on several occasions assisted the Somali central government. The purpose has been to exert pressure on Farmajo’s political opponents and to influence electoral processes, including in southwestern Somalia.
He considers it natural that co-operation between the three countries has also included security and mutual military contributions.
Everyone is against strong regions
– The three heads of state have something in common – all are strongly against federalism and want a strong central power at the expense of the regions. It is regional forces that are challenging their power. For Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki, the TPLF in Tigray is the biggest threat in the fight to stay in power, Hansen says.
He is well aware of the rumors and media coverage of Somali soldiers in the Tigray War. The United States and the UN Special Rapporteur on Somalia and Eritrea have also reported on this.
– This has been well covered in Somali media, and there have been some hateful feelings against it. Many Somalis have a difficult relationship with Ethiopia, due to various forms of Ethiopian interference in Somali internal relations. It has to do both with events in recent years and in historical circumstances. When young Somalis have to sacrifice their lives in a war, used as useful tools for the Ethiopian central power, it is considered treason, Hansen says.
It was an arms race
Kjetil Tronvoll, who also predicted the outbreak of war long before it happened, points out that the military alliance building, in the wake of the peace agreement between Abiy and Afwerki, was just one of several signs of an impending war in Ethiopia. Both parties – both the TPLF and the government – felt insecure about the other party, feared a war and started an rearmament to secure their own borders and their own power and influence.
Already in 2015-2016, there were signs that the old governing coalition, based on a long-standing fragile balance of power between different regions, was disintegrating. It became clearer and clearer that this could explode in a war. Various regions – Amhara, Oromia and Tigray – began to prepare. It was an arms race, where everyone was insecure, says Tronvoll.
The tripartite agreement
* The tripartite agreement between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia is a cooperation agreement signed on 5 September 2018. The agreement was officially about peace, trade, culture and social and economic development. The agreement was signed in the Ethiopian Amhara region. This happened in the wake of a change of power in Ethiopia and a subsequent peace agreement between the two former enemies Eritrea and Ethiopia.
* A new tripartite meeting was held in Ethiopia’s Amhara region in November 2018.
* On 27 January 2020, another three-party meeting was held in the Eritrean capital Asmara. According to the Ethiopian broadcaster Fana, the meeting adopted an action plan focusing on “peace, stability, security and economic and social development” and a “security” component with the aim of combating and neutralizing (…) terrorism, arms and human trafficking and drug trafficking.
* Prior to and between the meetings, there had been a number of bilateral meetings. Among other things, Abiy visited an Eritrean military base in July 2020. Farmajo visited Asmara on October 4, 2020, while Isaias visited the Ethiopian air base in Bishoftu on 14-15. October 2020.
* Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared war on the Tigray region on November 4, 2020. It came hours after Tigray forces first launched an attack on several federal military bases inside the Tigray region. In the months before, there had been a growing tension between the parties. Eritrean soldiers participated in the Ethiopian government forces and have been accused of aggravated assault on civilians. Various sources in Ethiopia and Somalia claim that forcibly recruited Somali soldiers wearing Eritrean uniforms were also involved in the Tigray offensive during the first phase of the war.
Source: Wikipedia / Ethiopia Insight / Eritrea Hub / Fana / Amnesty International
“Omar” was promised a golden job in Qatar, ended up as a soldier in Eritrea
“Omar” (26) was one of many Somali young boys who were promised well-paid jobs as guards ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. That was a lie. The boys were instead abducted to Eritrea and forced into military training. Many ended their lives in the Tigray War, a former intelligence chief believes.
By Gunnar Zachrisen
– In a few days I will leave, he said optimistically. That was the last I heard from him. It has now been almost three years.
It is the cousin of “Omar”, one of several thousand missing young boys, who tells this. The cousin is the only one who dares to stand up when a Somali freelance reporter makes contact, on behalf of Bistandsaktuelt. Eight other parents, among them people who have previously appeared in the media, have said “no”, referring to “fear” and “threats”.
“Omar” is one of many young Somali men who were promised a lucrative job abroad, but ended up in one of several military training camps in Eritrea. And has been kept there for several years. A spokesman for the Somali authorities has admitted that there was talk of training 5,000 recruits, a former intelligence chief believes the missing young boys are at least twice as many.
– It’s desperate. I fear that many will be detained or killed because they are living testimony to what they have seen during the Tigray war, he says to Bistandsaktuelt.
The former deputy head of the Somali intelligence service, Abdisalam Guled, has himself spoken to about 500 families who have lost contact with their sons. The conversations have taken place directly or through Whatsapp groups where the families have shared their stories.
– I was the very first to talk about this publicly in Somalia. As a result, a number of parents made contact. Today I consider myself a whistleblower, and try as best I can to find out what has happened. I try to be the relatives’ spokesperson, says the former intelligence chief to Bistandsaktuelt.
16-year-olds forcibly recruited
Abdisalam Guled says that most young people left their families between March 2019 and June 2020. Many came from universities or graduated from high school.
The youngest were around 16 years old. He estimates that more than 10,000 have been tricked into leaving – with the hope of a profitable job.
It was the Somali intelligence service that was responsible for the recruitment and the false promises. The young people were taken to the airport, but instead of being flown to Qatar, they ended up as forcibly recruited soldiers in training camps inside the dictatorship of Eritrea. There they were refused contact with their families.The Eritrean military was in charge of the training.- Before they left, most were told that they would get well-paid jobs by performing guard duty for a private company in Qatar, ahead of the World Cup in football. Others were told that they would get a job in Turkey. They were sent by plane from Mogadishu and had no idea until they landed in Eritrea. There, they were dressed in Eritrean uniforms and sent on to training camps, says the man who was intelligence deputy in Somalia in the years 2013-2017.Today, he is an independent security policy analyst.
Denied contact with the family
In Somalia, only a few parents have heard from their sons after coming to the Eritrean training camps. The few young boys who have managed to make contact, tell of extremely harsh conditions in the camps – with forced labor, little food, lack of health care and harassment and violence committed by Eritrean soldiers. Some of the Eritrean instructors are themselves prisoners from Eritrean prisons, claim Somali recruits who have managed to return to their home country.A family received a phone call from a son who said that several hundred recruits had been sent to Tigray, and that less than half returned alive. That was the last they heard from their son, says Abdisalam Guled.Another family tells a local online newspaper that the son was approached on a football field and lured with job offers as a guard in Qatar. He had left without saying anything, but called the family from the capital Mogadishu to say goodbye. The hope was to make money that could fund the studies. Then it went on for seven months without them hearing anything, until they suddenly got a call from their son who was in a hospital bed in Eritrea and had borrowed a phone from a doctor. He had been injured during training in the military camp, he said.
Said he was going to Qatar
Abdul, with whom Bistandsaktuelt spoke a few days ago, tells of his cousin “Omar”, a father of two from a town north of Mogadishu, who was recruited by the Somali military and promised a job in Qatar. The phone call took place in March 2019.- When he called me he was still in a camp in Mogadishu, but he refused to say which one. Then he was going on to Qatar for special training a few days later. Somali authorities would arrange everything for him, including a good monthly salary, he said.
According to Abdul, the cousin has not made a sound since – except about a year ago, when he called his wife.- Then he was in a camp in Eritrea, but gave no further details about the situation. Since then we have not heard anything, and his wife, father and the rest of the family are in despair. They have two small children and are in a difficult financial situation now, he says.Abdul says that they – via local media – have appealed to the authorities to get information about what happened to the cousin, but that they have never received an answer.
Bistandsaktuelt knows their full names, but has chosen to anonymise – for the sake of both the interviewee, the missing cousin and his family. The freelance reporter also wants anonymity – for his own safety.)
Desperate parents demanded answers
The experiences and losses of life, either in acts of war or in the military camps, are only part of the tragedy for the Somali youth. In January this year, the Somali Guardian newspaper published an interview in which an escaped Somali recruit claims that more than 400 Somali recruits have been killed. He tells of clashes between Somalis and Eritreans in which dozens of unarmed recruits have been killed.The fugitive Abdulkadir Abshir, who was trained for six months in early 2020, also claims that thousands of Somali recruits were sent to take part in the Tigray War, under Eritrean command. However, the Somali authorities continue to reject the allegations of war involvement, as they have done since the allegations first surfaced.Hundreds of desperate parents began holding a series of demonstrations in the center of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu last year – demanding to know the truth about the sons they had not heard from. The demonstrations lasted for several months.A series of videos shared on social media and in Somali media show crying mothers and fathers appealing to the authorities to find out where their sons are. –
… then the answer is a bullet
Hussein Warsame told Reuters that his son, 21-year-old Saddam, had been promised a guard job in Qatar in October 2019. Then they heard nothing more from him, until he called from Eritrea a little over a year later.- We were all shocked when we landed in Eritrea. We thought we would be flown to Qatar, he quoted from the conversation with his son.His son Saddam also complained about the conditions in the camps.- Father, there is no life here, I have not seen food except a shell or slice of bread since I left Somalia in 2019, and when recruits protest or refuse to follow orders, the answer is a bullet, the son had told him.- Both my sons were recruited and have disappeared, says another desperate man in an online video clip.- We appealed and appealed to the authorities – to the police, to the military, to the intelligence service, to the government – but everyone has denied that they knew anything about the boys’ fate, says Abdisalam Guled.Still today – over two years after the first youths were sent to Eritrea – many parents are waiting for answers about what happened to them. Guled estimates that there are several thousand parents.
A secret war pact?
The story of the forcibly recruited young boys and the desperate cries of the families to find out the truth also sheds new light on aspects of the prelude to the bloody war in northern Ethiopia – and a secret military alliance between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.Several Central African horn analysts have suggested that a military pact between the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea existed long before the outbreak of the Tigray War, and at one point Somalia was involved.The New York Times reported on December 15 last year that Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki had already been planning the war in Tigray for months – long before the war actually broke out. Among other things, military transport planes had traveled between Addis Ababa and Asmara, while Eritrea played an important role in training soldiers from the Ethiopian region of Amhara – to fight against Tigray forces. Eritrea, a tough dictatorship with minimal opportunities for critical scrutiny, probably had a similar role in training Somali youths to become combat-ready soldiers, according to the former intelligence chief.
Was contacted by Ethiopian officer
Ex-intelligence deputy Abdisalam Guled first became aware of the missing young boys in January last year, when he was contacted by a former acquaintance of the Ethiopian military leadership. The officer himself had been at the front in Tigray and seen the Somali youths, in Eritrean uniforms.Abdisalam Guled has since spoken to several Somali youths who have managed to escape from the camps in Eritrea. In total, he believes there are more than 35 who have escaped – from camps along the Eritrean coast towards the Red Sea.On the other hand, no one has so far managed to escape from camps around the town of Badme on the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia. This is where the task force for the Tigray war has been located, he claims.The recruits who have managed to escape have mainly fled on foot, from the coastal training camps in Eritrea via the regions of Afar and Somali in Ethiopia – before returning to Somalia. The stories they have told him and local journalists are reminiscent of what the fugitive Abdulkadir has told the public. Violence, harassment, communication bans, lousy food, illness and lack of medicine are some key words, according to the ex-intelligence officer.Many parents who have not heard anything from their sons are asking for an answer.- This is so sad. I would have liked to have helped them more than I have managed, says Guled.
Probably 10,000 recruits
The allegations about Somali recruits in Eritrean camps were denied and denied and denied by official sources in Somalia.It was only after the parents’ repeated, lengthy demonstrations and coverage in a number of local media, that the country’s former national security adviser (current foreign minister) Abdi Saed finally admitted that there were Somali soldiers in Eritrea. It happened opposite a local television station. “How many,” the TV journalist asks. “5000”, the security adviser answers. The many allegations that soldiers have been sent into Tigray, however, are still denied from official sources, where it is claimed, among other things, that the allegations are abused by the political opposition.The former deputy head of the Somali intelligence service NISA believes that there are even more Somali recruits in Eritrea, probably over 10,000 – and that many have been killed. He bases this on both information from the Ethiopian side, stories from escaped soldiers and conversations with parents.Somali MPs, who have demanded answers on the matter from the authorities, have also given similar estimates.Guled believes that the training of Somali recruits is part of an element in a tripartite agreement between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, where each country should contribute thousands of soldiers each. The existence of such a co-operation agreement, established in 2018, has been confirmed by the countries, but not that it also includes co-operation in the military field. There is only secrecy.
The intelligence service recruited
On the Somali side, it was Abdisalam Guled’s old employer, the intelligence service, who was responsible for the recruitment, not the Ministry of Defense. They were the ones who collected the recruits, kept them in a closed area and sent them on from the airport in Mogadishu.The secrecy was extensive. The flight from Addis to the Eritrean capital took place without travel documents and passenger lists.”On the day the young people left, even airport employees were prevented from stamping them in or checking their luggage, in stark contrast to the aviation safety rules,” the Somali online newspaper Garowe Online wrote in a revealing article in June last year.- It is striking and strange. No government agency in Somalia states that they have the names of the young men who were recruited and traveled, says Abdisalam Guled.So secret was the program that not even the then Prime Minister, the Norwegian Somali Hassan Ali Khaire, knew about it. President Mohamed Farmaajo and a couple of other advisers and key officials in the intelligence service were the brains behind the secret operation, the Somali online newspaper claims.
Why are they being held back in Eritrea?
The original plan was not to prepare the soldiers for an impending war in Ethiopia, but to deploy them to defeat the opposition in Somalia and secure the president’s power, Garowe Online writes, citing leaked documents and two internal sources.Abdisalam Guled believes the plans were changed along the way as the Eritrean dictator took control of both training and deployment of troops. A number of observers have pointed out that the leaders of the Tigray region and the party leadership of the TPLF have for years been considered the main threat to the dictator’s grip on power – which he has maintained since 1991.There were also Tigray forces that made up a large part of the Ethiopian forces that fought against Eritrea in the years 1998 to 2000.- This is not something I can prove, but centrally located Ethiopian sources have told me that there were over 10,000 from the Somali side in the Tigray war, in Eritrean uniforms and under Eritrean command. I fear that many were killed, says Guled.He also fears that many of the survivors will be detained in Eritrea – precisely so that the truth about what they were involved in in the Tigray war will not be revealed.
Eyewitnesses told of Somali soldiers
Until January 20 this year, no media had interviewed eyewitnesses about Somali soldiers’ participation in the war in Tigray, a region where Ethiopia denies journalists entry.However, the investigative journalist Lucy Kassa, who also regularly reports for Bistandsaktuelt, managed to get in touch with people in six villages in northwestern Tigray, who among other things tell in detail about Somali soldiers’ participation in extensive abuses against civilians in the early stages of the war.The issue of Somalia’s possible participation in the war in northern Ethiopia is extremely controversial in the Somali public. This is partly due to the fact that the training of soldiers in Eritrea and the alleged participation in the war in Tigray were not discussed with the country’s parliament, as required by law.In retrospect, the Somali president’s office has demanded that the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail, which published Kassa’s article, deny the information. If not, Somalia will sue, according to a letter from the president’s communications chief.A former official in Ethiopia with a background in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party confirms to Bistandsaktuelt that thousands of Somali soldiers participated in the Tigray war in the first months of the war.(Bistandsaktuelt has asked the authorities in Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia for a comment on allegations in this article, but so far without the inquiries being answered.)
The UN has previously reported on Somali participation in the Ethiopian war, including during the massacres in the holy city of Axum. The UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea first referred to such information in June last year – referring to talks with parents, diplomats and civil society organizations.In October last year, a UN panel in Somalia issued a new report on various political issues in the region and where, among other things, the training of Somali recruits is a topic. In connection with the report, the UN body was denied access to Eritrea to investigate the matter further, and failed to substantiate the allegations about the soldiers’ participation in the Tigray war.The report states, however, that some of the Somali recruits are likely to have played “an opaque role” in the conduct of elections in Somalia in April 2021, a reference to the fact that soldiers are said to have contributed to political pressure. About 450 recruits are said to have returned to Somalia after training in Eritrea, according to information from the authorities.
March 27, 2018: Former intelligence officer, soldier and Oromo politician Abiy Ahmed is elected chairman of the governing coalition EPRDF. The following week, parliament approves Abyi Ahmed as the new prime minister. The change of power marks a break with the TPLF’s long-standing influential role in the country’s politics.
June 21, 2018: Eritrean head of state and dictator Isaias Afwerki accepts Ethiopia’s proposal for peace talks, leading to an agreement.
September 5, 2018: Tripartite meeting between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia in Asmara ends with a joint closing statement. In the months before, there have been a number of meetings between Abiy and Isaiah Afwerki, including visits to air bases.
March 2019: The first contingent of Somali young boys is dispatched from the airport in Mogadishu. While still believing that they are going to Qatar to work as guards in a private security company, they land in Eritrea’s capital. From there, they are sent to various Eritrean training camps.
October 2019: The Norwegian Nobel Committee announces that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will go to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
January 27, 2020: A new three-party meeting is held where “safety components” related to the collaboration will be agreed. The goal is, according to the state Ethiopian media company Fana, to “fight and neutralize (…) terrorism, arms and human and drug smuggling”. The agreements on security cooperation are not public.
June 2020: The last contingent of Somali young boys is sent from Mogadishu to Asmara in Eritrea.
November 4, 2020: The war in Tigray breaks out after a long period of tension between the parties.
January – July 2021: Parents hold protests in Mogadishu demanding to know what has happened to their sons.
June 2021: A report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Somalia and Eritrea believes that there is reason to believe that Somali recruits trained in Eritrea were used in the Tigray War.
June 12, 2021: Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble appoints a committee to investigate families’ complaints and allegations that their sons have received military training in Eritrea.
June 26, 2021: The 25-year-old female intelligence agent Ikran Tahlil Farah – with a background as a human rights lawyer – is abducted from her home. The newspaper Garowe Online believes that surveillance photos show that she is included in a Toyota belonging to the intelligence service NISA. The latter later sends out a press release in which they claim that there is reason to believe that it is al-Shabaab who is behind it.
September 2021: In violation of the Constitution, President Farmajo deprives Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble of his executive powers. The decision is made in the wake of a dispute over Roble’s firing of former intelligence chief Fahad Yasin in connection with an investigation into the murder of the female intelligence agent Ikran Tahlil Farah.December 26, 2021: The President and Prime Minister agree on December 26 to bury the hatchet and prepare for presidential elections. The magazine Africa Confidential writes in retrospect that the country was on the brink of civil war.
January 2022: An article in the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail reports on abuses committed by Somali soldiers in Tigray in the first months of 2021.
February 2022: The committee that was to investigate the case with the Somali recruits has still not submitted its report, and on February 25 there are presidential elections in Somalia. The election campaign is characterized by violence and harsh outcomes between different politicians. Several of the opposition’s presidential candidates are exposed to shelling and other types of attacks by the military.