Kids as young as age 9 are being recruited to fight for Somalia’s biggest terrorist group, Al Shabaab. The number of child soldiers has risen to over 5,000 kids!
Kids are recruited in two main ways: abduction or persuasion.
Children have been abducted from their homes and schools, sometimes entire classes being taken. Current child soldiers also manipulate kids by telling them to bring a group of kids to play football, for example, where a group of kids show up and are instantly abducted. Kids are also told by soldiers that they will receive a better education, food, money and job opportunities.
Kids are then taken to training camps where they are trapped. Recruits are taught to use weapons, to throw hand grenades and are subjected to a myriad of abuses including rape, assault and forced marriages. However, when it comes to the battlefield, these children are sent to the frontline to use explosives and act as human shields.To Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of Somalia:
We are asking you to do everything in your power to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers in armed conflict.
Everyday, Al Shabaab is recruiting young kids to send to the frontline of battle so they will be the first to die, rather than older soldiers, as these kids are seen as “replaceable” and “disposable.”
One child that escaped in a training camp explained that, “The children were cleaned off. The children all died and the bigger soldiers ran away."
This is a crime against humanity. It’s about an African child being given an equal chance to grow up as a child and fulfill their rightful potential in life.
We are asking you to send in troops to get all of the current child soldiers out of battle and back to their families. This is a matter of life and death! Punish those soldiers that are recruiting and abducting kids. 5,000 child soldiers is unacceptable. 5,000 children are being sent to their deaths!
It’s time for the issue of child soldiers to be taken seriously. Let’s get these kids home to safety and prevent these kids from entering the battlefield!