MOGADISHU (Realist English). In the very heart of the Somali capital, the UAE and Egyptian intelligence services are carrying out a secret initiative to recruit and train almost 3,000 young Somali men. This is reported by Middle East Eye (MEE) with reference to numerous sources.
“Nile water is a potential crisis in the Horn of Africa region, and any training of Somali forces involving Egypt will place Somalia in the middle of the crisis, since Ethiopian forces control a large part of our country,” said Abdullahi Kulane, a Somali MP and the country’s former intelligence chief of staff. “Having close ties with Cairo and losing Ethiopia is of no value to us. We also understand that the Muslim world is somewhat divided, and if Somalia is perceived as taking a side, then it would have an unnecessary impact on our country.”
During the exercises, which began a few months ago, recruits aged 18 to 28 were promised well-paid jobs. Moreover, many of them have already been sent to Egypt for military training at the expense of the UAE.
The initiative will be viewed with suspicion in neighboring Ethiopia, which is in a long quarrel with Cairo over the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project, as well as in Turkey and Qatar, which have enjoyed influence in Somalia in recent years.
On condition of anonymity, senior Somali government officials involved in the case told MEE that individuals are secretly recruiting in the office of the President in cooperation with security officials of the UAE and Egypt.