Shafi'i Abokar - AHN News AHN Correspondent
Mogadishu, Somalia (AHN) - Somalia's lawmakers have extended the ultimatum for young Al-Shabaab fighters to surrender to Somalia's for another 20 days, deputy prime minister and minister for defense Abdihakin Hajji Mahmoud Fiqi revealed.
In an interview with the state-run radio the minister said that his has taken this decision at the behest of many parents whose children were forced to fight for Al-Shabaab requested the Somali government give their children an extra chance.
"We know that Al-Shabaab are using so many children including some who were misguided and some who were forcibly recruited, so we are telling those children that we give them another chance which will last until the end of April—this is a golden opportunity and I urge them to take advantage of that opportunity" the deputy prime minister who is also Somalia's defense minister said in his interview.
He went on to say that the Somali government has prepared special programs which are intended to aid in the future development of the children recruited by the Al-Qaeda-proxy Al-Shabab militants who mostly use under age children as fighters.
"Hundreds of forcibly recruited children and militia leaders have yielded to Somalia's government since we declared that who ever surrenders will be pardoned just nearly two months ago and I am hopeful that more will benefit from the extension of ultimatum" Fiqi noted.
Since Early February this year Somali government seized more strategic cities south of the country and key trenches in the capital from the militants who seem to be economically and militarily dismantling.
Al-Shabab has been fighting the Somali government for the past several years in a bid to form an Islamic state in Somalia, but analysts say that the kind of Islamic system Al-Shabaab wants is the Taliban-like Islamic rule which harassed people in Afghanistan before it collapsed late in 2001.