Increasing numbers of soldiers trained in Eritrea return amidst Somalia’s fight against Al-Shabaab


MOGADISHU, Somalia – To address the issue of manpower shortage on the battlefield and bolster reinforcements, a group of Somali troops who were undergoing training abroad have now returned home. This move comes a few weeks after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called for a temporary halt to the withdrawal of officers from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] from the country.

During a session at the United Nations Security Council, the Somali government expressed its concerns about the withdrawal of peacekeepers, stating that the country required an additional three months to make the necessary logistical preparations before the exit of the ATMIS troops.

The African Union had planned to withdraw 3,000 more soldiers from Somalia, following the departure of 2,000 troops in June. The organization aims to complete the withdrawal by December 2024, in accordance with the Somali Transition Plan [STP] that was implemented a few years ago.

On Monday, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed back more soldiers who had received training in Eritrea. Somalia is making efforts to increase its military strength, with the intention of the Somali National Army assuming security responsibilities once the ATMIS troops have left.

“Today, I have received our courageous troops who have returned from Eritrea, as we intensify our relentless efforts to eliminate Kharajite terrorists,” President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud stated, referring to the Al-Shabaab militants who have been engaged in a fight to overthrow the government.

“Their bravery instills a sense of confidence in me, as well as every other Somali citizen, that the liberation and lasting peace of our homeland is imminent,” Hassan Sheikh added. He has declared a complete war on Al-Shabaab, a strategy that has gained significant support.

Initially, the president had requested the assistance of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti in deploying non-ATMIS troops to the country for the implementation of the second phase of operations against Al-Shabaab in Jubaland and Southwest states. However, the operation has been delayed due to an insufficient number of soldiers on the frontlines.