UN expert calls for end of child soldiers in Somalia
UN expert has called an end to the use of minors in armed conflict in the Horn Africa nation.
Agencies to protect children have severally accused Al-Shabab militant group forcefully recruiting underage.
The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Bahame Tom Mukirya Nyanduga in a statement called for the protection of all children in Somalia to prevent them from getting involved in armed conflict.
“The abduction of children by Al-Shabab group and their recruitment and use by government security forces in the armed conflict constitute a grave violation of the children’s rights,” Nyanduga said.
The expert also called on the government to build rehabilitation centres to address the plight of children associated with Al-Shabab.
Nyanduga commended Somali government for measures taken so far to rehabilitate childr5in combat and for recognizing that such children were victims.
In January, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Al-Shabab militant group of recruiting more children to fight in their ranks.
In a report, HRW said the terrorist group has been stepping up recruitment drive since late September last year.
The militants ordered elders and community leaders to provide hundreds of children.
“Al-Shabab’s ruthless recruitment campaign is taking rural children from their parents so they can serve this militant armed group,” Laetitia Bader, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, said.
“To escape that cruel fate, many children have fled school or their homes,” she added.
HRW called on Somali government, with the help of international donors, to identify Al-Shabab recruitment drives, including their location, scale, and use of educational institutions and use that information to inform protective measures.