Monday, 21 March 2011 09:22

SOMALIA: Al-Shabaab - 'Underage Children Fight for Us'


Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, top Al-Shabaab militia's commander confirmed that his group is using underage children in their fight against Somali Transitional Government.

"We recruit underage children to fight for us, the children are ready to die for their country and religion" said Sheikh Aweys while addressing people in a mosque at Elasha Biyaha camps in outskirt of Mogadishu, the restive capital of Somalia.

He adds they will continue recruiting underage children to fight against Somali government forces and African Union troops.

"There was an incident where 13 year fighter shocked when he heard the loud sounds of the artillery while he was fighting and he said the fighting is terrible but the Jihad is sweet and later he was dead in the clashes," said Aweys.

Human Right Agencies alleged Somali Islamic militants force hundreds of children to serve as soldiers in Somalia, and the international community called on the Somali Islamist not to use children in the fighting.

Somali radical Islamist insurgents are well-known turning children of soccer to fighters, but Aweys is the first commander, who assured that his group use underage children as fighters.

Aweys was former leader of Hizbul Islam militias before they joined Al-Shabaab radical militants late last year.

Al-Shabaab, is fighting to overthrow the Somali government backed by African Union troops to control the country and set up a strict Islamic state. The militias control much of central and southern regions including large parts of the capital Mogadishu.

Source: Garowe Online (Garowe, Somalia)

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