Thousands of children fighting in Somalia, UN Chief

  • January 23, 2017

Thousands of children may constitute a large part of the force recruited and used by the armed al-Shabab group in Somalia, said the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently.

In a report to the Security Council, the UN chief expressed alarm and said al-Shabab used children in combat, with nine-year-olds reportedly taught to use weapons and sent to frontlines. Children were also used to transport explosives, work as spies, carry ammunition or perform domestic chores, Guterres said.

It was estimated more than half of al-Shabab’s force were children,and at least 60 percent of the group’s “elements” captured in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region in March 2016 were youngsters.

Some of those children said they were approached with the promise of education and jobs, he said.

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