Al Shabaab militants have kidnapped school-going children in Bakol region of Somalia. The militants are said to have kidnapped at least 60 children in what is being viewed as a radical recruitment operation by the militants.
Intelligence has recently reported a spike in al Shabaab activity in southern Somalia especially as they have amped the recruitment of children to fight within the ranks. Reports maintain that heavily armed Al-Shabaab fighters stormed El-Garas village located 40 km from Tihyeglow district in Bakol region.
Al-Shabaab has been reportedly ordering elders, teachers in Islamic religious schools, and communities in rural areas of South and central Somalia to provide hundreds of children or face attacks.
In the past years, al Shabaab has used similar tactics of intimidation and kidnapping in recruiting children and young adults into their ranks. The recent recruitment comes at a time when US airstrikes have been conducting precision airstrikes on assets and locations in the south and central Somalia. The recruitment is a seeming confirmation of the decline in numbers and manpower in the al Qaeda affiliated group following a war and defection wave of fighters to join ISIS Somalia.