A recent report by Human Rights Watch has highlighted the growing number of child abduction cases by an ISIS-linked group in northern Mozambique.
The report singles out the local terrorist group Al-Shabab saying they have been kidnapping underage boys, some as young as twelve years old, training and brainwashing them to fight within their militants against government forces in the region.
In four years, al-Shabab has taken control of most of five districts in Cabo Delgado province. Mozambique's defence forces are widely regarded as corrupt, poorly trained and ill-equipped and were no match for a growing but still rag-tag band of insurgents.— Individual-1 (@codename_karla) August 6, 2021
HRW's report cites several statements by family members who have confirmed the abduction of their children who they later saw carrying weapons in the streets of Palma town in the Cabo Delgado Province.
Moreover, anecdotes of parents have been included in the report, as they talked about Al-Shabab deadly raids that ended in the group's kidnapping of young boys from villages before they are forced to fight with the militia.
Al-Shabab - a homegrown militant group - started its insurgency in Mozambique's resource-rich Cabo Delgado region in 2017. Two years later it pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group although it is not clear how close the links between the two organisations are.— Papa 🇰🇪 (@papashaq_) May 27, 2021
International laws prohibit the use of child soldiers in military conflicts, regardless of the sides recruiting them.
The report also sheds light on a June 2021 estimate by Save the Children which said that almost 51 young children have been abducted in Cabo Delgado during the last year, many of whom are girls.
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