A London-based charity, Save the Children, has said child abductions are becoming “a new and alarmingly regular tactic by armed groups” in Mozambique.
Mozambique is one of the seven countries in the sub-Saharan Africa with large-scale terrorism linked to the expansion of the Islam States (ISIS) affiliates in the region.
According to the charity in a statement on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, terrorists have abducted at least 51 children, most of them girls, over the past year, putting them at risk of sexual violence, and early marriage amid the insurgency that has displaced over 700,000 people in the country.
The charity noted that the number of child abductions is likely to be “far higher” because its report only reflected the reported cases.
“Being abducted, witnessing abductions, experiencing attacks, being forced to flee from armed groups – these are extremely traumatising events for young children and adolescents,” Chance Briggs, the charity’s country director, said in the statement.
Briggs said the abductions were among the six grave violations of children’s rights at a time of conflict as defined by the UN and can be “a first step towards war crimes.”
According to the United Nations, children are forced to become child soldiers by armed forces, exposing them to violence in more than 20 conflict-plagued countries including Mozambique and Nigeria where children have been recruited and trained to become Boko Haram insurgents.
Briggs called for the immediate release of all the abducted children and the prosecution of perpetrators.
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