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ISWAP intensifying recruitment of children as soldiers – Report

The Islamist State of the West African Province operating around Lake Chad has intensified the recruitment of children as fighters.

A report by a Security Analyst and Counter Insurgency Expert in the North East, Zagazola Makama said ISWAP was making the move after onslaught by the Nigerian Military.

 The report published on April 1 stated that the clashes between ISWAP and Boko Haram have led to the surrendering of over 50,000 Boko Haram terrorists, adding that ISWAP was  desperate to recruit fighters to it side.

  Titled, “Boko Haram intensifies recruitment of children as child soldiers after suffering setbacks against the Nigerian Military” , it partly read, “Islamist State of the West African Province armed extremist group operating in the Lake Chad Basin, have intensified the recruitment of children as fighters after suffering setbacks against the Nigerian Military

The recruitment and use of child soldiers by the Boko Haram faction Jama’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (JAS) was widely known.

 However, its rival faction has been doing the same across the shores of the LakeChad following the recent mass elimination of ISWAP top leaders and fighters in some of their hideouts by the Nigerian Military.

 “Other factors that led to the desperate recruitment drive included ISWAP clashes with JAS Boko Haram which triggered surrendering of more than 50,000 members’ to the Nigerian authorities as well as other factors which led to mass desertion of fighters. “

Citing intelligence reports, Makama said the ISWAP terrorists through the “Darul Ilm and Darul Qur’an” Institutions have trained hundreds of child soldiers through its subsidiary known “Albahrul Islam, an ISIS supported institute in Somalia.

He added that, “So far, they have graduated more than 2,000 children militants from the African continent who underwent combat, Non-combat operations, bomb making, martial arts as well as other weapon handling technical trainings for six months.

“In January 2022, the institute established if training camps in office in KURNAWA, Arge, Metele and Tumbum Allura with its head office at KAYOWA in Abadam local government area.

In February 2022, morethan 200 of the newly graduated child soldiers from Lake Chad were deployed as mercenaries to Mali and Niger to form alliance with the Islamic State of the Greater Sahel to wage campaign of terror under the supervision of the ISIS Central Command. “

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