Many others are abducted from schools and taken to
training camps. One teenager described how he had
been taken from school and placed in the front line
after training in an al-Shabaab camp "Out of all my
classmates – about 100 boys – only two of us
escaped, the rest were killed. The children were
cleaned off. The children all died and the bigger
soldiers ran away.”"
It is already known that many of these child soldiers have
been recruited by rebel groups such as al-Shabab and Hizbul
Islam, however recent reports indicate that Somalia's own
Transitional government has also taken to recruiting child
soldiers particularly in the capital city of Mogadishu to help
maintain law and order; reports fiercely denied by the
government. Other reports suggest that children in Mogadishu are
being picked up and placed in adult jails simply because they
may be linked to the militants.
As recently as 2012, the Human Rights Watch published a
report entitled “No Place for Children: Child Recruitment,
Forced Marriage, and Attacks on Schools in Somalia” which
detailed the recruitment of child soldiers by Al-Shabaab to
replenish its fighters describing the level as "like nothing
documented in the past" with abducted children being forced to
act as human shields for adult fighters or as suicide bombers.
Given the situation in Somalia, where even aid agencies fear
to work because of the ever present dangers to the lives of
their staff, figures for the number of child soldiers operating
in Somalia are not clear, however a report in 2004 by the
Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers suggested
that in the previous five years some 200,000 children had been
used as child soldiers by various armed factions out of a total
child population of around 4,562,000.
It is currently believed that 2000-3000
children are serving as child soldiers in Somalia at any given
time. Find out more about Somalia's history and the long term
conflict there in the articles below.