Al-Shabaab militia abducting teenage girls to marry fighters
Truly evil terrorist scum in Somalia are killing and torturing children.
Gunmen from the Islamist al-Shabaab militia have routinely abducted teenage girls to work as servants on the frontline and forced them to marry fighters, according to a new report documenting the abuse of children in Somalia’s civil war.
The report by Human Rights Watch also found that as fighting has intensified over the past two years, al-Shabaab has increasingly targeted boys as young as 10 for action on the frontline to join its dwindling ranks. Whole classrooms have been forced at gunpoint to leave school and fight.
Researchers found that after several weeks of harsh training child recruits are sent for action where they often serve as “cannon fodder” to protect adult fighters.
“It is a new, disturbing pattern using children as human shields,” said Laetitia Bader, one of the principal authors and researchers of the report.
Boys who escaped camps were either mown down or faced long and terrifying journeys to sanctuary elsewhere in Somalia or across the border in Kenya.
Girls who resisted capture can face the most appalling consequences, Human Rights Watch found. A 16-year-old girl who refused to marry an al-Shabaab commander who was three times her age was killed by his men and beheaded. Her head was brought back to the school as a warning to others.
“They assembled all of the girls and said ‘this is an example of what will happen if you misbehave’,” a teacher at the school told Human Rights Watch, which conducted more than 160 interviews with Somali refugees for the report, No Place for Children.
A 19-year-old student from the Bakara district of the capital Mogadishu described how girls were taken from his school.
“Girls were taken at gunpoint. One girl said she could not go and al-Shabaab shot her in the forehead in front of my class. They said that she was a spy for the government. She was 19 years old,” he said.
The forced marriage campaign by the al-Qaeda affiliate is part of its effort to impose its harsh version of Sharia on every aspect of the personal lives of women and girls, according to Human Rights Watch.