NAIROBI: Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab insurgents are increasingly threatening civilians to force them to hand over young children for “indoctrination and military training”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Monday, reports AFP.
The rights watchdog said an aggressive campaign to recruit children had begun in mid-2017, with the jihadists taking reprisals against communities who refuse to cooperate.
Hundreds of children have fled their homes to avoid this fate, often alone, it said in a statement. “Al-Shabaab’s ruthless recruitment campaign is taking rural children from their parents so they can serve this militant armed group,” said Laetitia Bader, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
The practice was revealed to be taking place in three districts largely under Shabaab control, in the southern Bay region..