A top official with the U.N. Children’s Fund says there could be 5,000 child soldiers in Somalia as al-Shabab continues its recruiting campaigns. In an interview with VOA Somali, Susannah Price, UNICEF chief of communication, said the recruitment and use of young children as soldiers was documented, and at surprisingly high numbers.
“This is a very, very … disturbing situation,” Price said. “Indeed, there could be up to 5,000 child soldiers. We know that al-Shabab has a recruiting campaign for children sometimes involving persuasion. They may be giving money or food sometimes. The children in the [displaced persons] camps are an easy target.”
Voice of America
The government of Kenya has come under intense criticism from the United Nations and human rights groups for announcing that it will shut down Dadaab refugee camp by November, which, with nearly 400,000 residents, is the largest in the world. Critics have said that Kenya is unfairly blaming Somalian refugees for al-Shabab terrorist attacks and is making a grave mistake by threatening to send refugees back into areas of Somalia still ravaged by the Islamist terrorist group. Kenya threatened to close the camp last year, after an al-Shabab attack on Garissa University killed 147 people; it later backed down on its decision. But this time, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has said, according to a spokesman, “the decision to repatriate the refugees is final.” On Monday, Somalia’s Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, sat down with The Post and discussed the decision to close Dadaab.