On Friday, a top extremist commander, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, admitted that his group was using underage children. "We recruit underage children to fight for us," said Sheikh Aweys was quoted as saying, even giving an example of a 13 year-old boy who was afraid to go into battle but was apparently forced to fight and was subsequently killed.
"We utterly condemn the extremists' inhuman and irreligious strategy of using children as cannon fodder. This is proof that they do not care about Somalis and they do not care about Islam," said Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. "The international community should redouble its efforts to help Somalia rid itself of this threat to the future generations of the country," he added.
"How many more admissions of their abuse of human rights, international law and the Geneva convention does the international community need? They constantly shell and mortar civilians and blame AMISOM, they admit a flagrant dismissal of human rights, and now they are destroying, abusing and terrorising our innocent children.
"The TFG and all honourable Somalis are ready to sweep this terrible threat from our country, but we need help. Not just military help, but help with governance, policing, humanitarian aid."
In recent weeks the extremists have lost much territory and suffered many casualties in Mogadishu and in the rest of the country as a government offensive has taken hold.
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Office of the Prime Minister of Somalia