IRAQ: Insurgents using children to fight US-led forces
02 Nov 2006 15:27:43 GMT
BAGHDAD, 2 November (IRIN) – Some children have been recruited by insurgents to fight in Iraq, according to a prominent local NGO.
The Iraq Aid Association (IAA) in Baghdad, which works with children suffering psychological trauma as a result of violence, said most child insurgents harbour reasons for revenge.
International law protects children from recruitment and participation in conflict.
“We have heard of cases of children helping insurgents and this should have been prevented. Insurgents should be careful in putting children in such dangerous situations,” an IAA spokesperson said.
According to the NGO, at least 15 children have been used by insurgents and five are in therapy with the NGO for psychological problems. IAA added that there were many more cases of children participating in the insurgency, especially in the western Anbar province.
Ten-year-old Mustafa Ibrahim is one such child. He said he has hated US troops since his parents were killed by them in May 2004 as they fled a battle in Fallujah city. “I do not have anyone for me in this world and I want to meet my family in heaven by revenging their death because God will compensate me for this,” he said.
Mustafa said he celebrated with his friends after he took part in an attack three weeks ago that led to the death of three US marines on the outskirts of the city of Ramadi.
“I have been trained to be a suicide bomber but he [the insurgent trainer] wants me to wait for an opportune time to become a shahid [martyr] in a very special attack and until that happens, I have to help in attacks against the US troops who are against Islam and [who are] the killers of my parents,” Mustafa said.
‘Shahid’ is a religious term in Islam that literally means ‘witness’. It is a title that is given to a Muslim after his death if he died during fulfilment of a religious commandment, or during a war for the religion.
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