Monday, March 21, 2011

SOMALIA: Recruitment of child soldiers on the increase

NAIROBI, 21 March 2011 (IRIN) - With the escalation of fighting across Somalia since January, armed groups have reportedly recruited more child soldiers to their ranks, some even forcing teachers to enlist pupils.

In a recent offensive against rebel groups in Bulo Hawo town on the border with Kenya, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated on 17 March, "...children were involved as fighters and a significant number of them were killed. According to reports, intense fighting in the area between Dhusamareb and Ceel bur in Galgadud has also resulted in many child casualties.”

"The TFG [Transitional Federal Government] forces, their allies, the Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama, and Al-Shabab are all engaged in the recruitment. Al-Shabab [the largest armed opposition group] is the biggest culprit," said an official working with an NGO that monitors the state of children in the country. The official, who asked not to be named, did not suggest the African Union's TFG-supporting military mission in Somalia, AMISOM, was also using children.

He said although the exact number of child soldiers was unknown, his group suspected between 2,000 and 3,000 children were in different armed groups.

He added that Al-Shabab was forcing Koranic and other teachers to bring their charges to be trained. "We have noticed a major increase in the recruitment of children since January 2011. It coincided with the current escalation of fighting in Mogadishu and parts of south and central Somalia."

"Putting children in the line of fire, killing and maiming them in the context of an armed conflict are among the most serious violations of international law which all parties to the conflict are expected to uphold. The use and recruitment of children under the age of 15 years is a war crime," said UNICEF Representative to Somalia, Rozanne Chorlton.

The TFG denied it recruited children into its forces. "This government, as a policy, does not recruit nor does it encourage the recruitment of children into the military," government spokesman, Abdi Haji Gobdon, told IRIN.

He said that whenever an underage child was found among government forces they were immediately released and sent back to their families.

Gobdon invited anyone or any group interested "to go to any government military facility and see for themselves".

Missing

Hawa* is a 40-year-old mother of four, whose 13-year-old son was forcibly recruited. "I have been looking for him for the past 15 days," she told IRIN from a camp for the displaced on the outskirts of Mogadishu.



Photo: Hassan Mahamud Ahmed/IRIN
Officials say Al-Shabab, the largest armed opposition group, is the biggest culprit in the recruitment of child soldiers (file photo)
Hawa said Al-Shabab took her son. "I finally got a call from him on Tuesday night [15 March] and I could hear gunfire. He was in a fight. He is too young to be there. I want them to release my boy."

Hawa said she was not the only parent in that situation. "Many mothers are like me. They are looking for their little ones. Mine does not even look like a 13-year-old. He is too small. How can they take him?"

Jailed

The NGO official said children who were not recruited faced other problems as government security forces in the capital, Mogadishu, were reportedly picking up children on suspicion that they "may be working for Al-Shabab”.

"There are a large number of children in government jails, simply because someone suspected that the child could be a militant," he said.

The official claimed he had evidence that many of the young people killed by government and AMISOM troops were children brought from Jowhar [90km north of Mogadishu].

In camps where tens of thousands of displaced are sheltering, or in hospitals in Mogadishu, the "vast majority are children", the official said. "Unfortunately, there is no safe place for them anywhere in this country."

UNICEF also said it was worried about reports of children captured by the TFG and its allies after the fighting in Bulo Hawa. “No detailed information is yet available on the conditions under which they are being held but UNICEF is making efforts to find out more, in order to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection.”

Recruitment "widespread"

In an April 2010 report, the UN said research in June 2009 confirmed that the recruitment of children had become more systematic and widespread. The report says all sides, including the TFG, were recruiting children.

A local journalist, who requested anonymity, told IRIN many displaced families were sending their children to refugee camps in Kenya or to safe parts of Somalia for fear they would be forcibly recruited.

"They [parents] cannot protect them," the journalist said. "Any parent who tries risks losing his or her life.”

According to UN estimates, at least 2.4 million Somalis need help across Somalia. These include IDPs in areas controlled by Al-Shabab: 410,000 in the Afgoye Corridor, 15,200 in the Balad corridor [30km north of Mogadishu] and 55,000 in Dayniile, northwest of Mogadishu.

Some 600,000 Somalis are refugees in neighbouring countries.

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Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic
Somalia

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