Mogadishu (diplomat.so) - Ukrainian authorities apprehended a person near Maryinka in the Donetsk Region in late December 2023 , and accused him of serving as a mercenary for the Russian army. The individual, initially identified as a Somali citizen, claimed to have traveled from Mogadishu through Addis Ababa to Moscow with the intention of obtaining Russian citizenship and a monthly stipend of 1,900 US dollars for military recruitment against Ukraine.
Contrary to initial reports, Somali security sources have refuted the claim, asserting that the detained individual is, in fact, an Ethiopian citizen. Sources highlight significant disparities, including language differences, pronunciation variations in English, Arabic, and Somali, as well as distinctions in physical attributes such as height, stature, and nose shape, between the Somali and Ethiopian nationalities.
Upon arrest, the individual identified himself as Adel Abdullahi Ahmed, claiming the family name Mohamed. The sources suggest that this misidentification raises concerns about the screening process and the potential involvement of other Ethiopian citizens in seeking military opportunities in Russia.
Adel, reported to be 28 years old, allegedly served for several months in the 3rd Separate Mechanized Rifle Brigade of the Russian Army. It is noted that he lacked prior experience in security forces and did not undergo Russian language courses. The sources emphasize that indigenous Somali citizens would typically not engage in mercenary activities.