Puntland forces paraded at least 30 al Shabaab militants arrested in the recent wave of fighting between them and the militants. The men arrested were as young as 12 years old and where all clad in full al Shabaab gear.
Puntland paraded the captured al Shabaab members, with the arrested being as young as 12 years old. According to security officers that interrogated the militants, the younger ones said they were promised education opportunities in Yemen while others jobs by the al Shabaab leaders.
Some of the arrested fighters were blackmailed into joining the al Shabaab after they were accused of being government soldiers and hence traitors with threats leveled against their families.
One of the 12 year old boys said, “I was told we were going to be given opportunities to study in Yemen but along the way we were given weapons and forced to fight alongside the al Shabaab”. Despite al Shabaab using as young as12-year olds in the suicide attacks, most of the arrested have expressed zero interest in joining the militants but were lured and tricked into fighting alongside the Islamists.
The arrested and killed militants were among the hundreds of militants rumored to head towards the Galgala mountain ranges in northern Somalia where the ISIS-affiliated arm of the al Shabaab founder Sheikh Abudulkadir Mumin is said to have a base.