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Somalia refutes claims of child abuse

Xinhua- The Somali government on Wednesday slammed a sensational report that appeared in the Washington Post, alleging its security forces were involved in violation of children’s rights.

In a statement, Mogadishu trashed the report from the leading American newspaper, terming it misleading and factually inaccurate.

“We are concerned by the report appearing in the Washington Post on May 7, which alleged that fundamental rights of children have been violated. As a signatory to the UN convention on the rights of the child, we are concerned by these allegations and will conduct thorough investigations to establish the truth,” it said.

Somaliboy1The paper reported that security personnel in the Horn of African state violated the rights of children during anti-terrorism operations.

In a strong rebuttal, Mogadishu claimed that it is the Al-Shabaab militants who were responsible for gross violations of children’s rights and not the security forces.

“The government uses legitimate tools in its military and ideological war against terrorism. Al-Shabaab on the other hand recruits and radicalizes children to carry out violence against innocent civilians,” said the statement

It added that Mogadishu has intensified rehabilitation and re-integration of children who were previously recruited by Al-Shabaab.

The Al-Shabaab militants have been recruiting Somalia children and youth as it employs new tactics to perpetrate violence and terror.

The statement said deradicalization programs targeting children and youth who joined Al-Shabaab are implemented within the confines of law.

“In these difficult times of terrorism and violence across the world, children are a primary group of victims who must be supported quickly and holistically,” said the statement, adding that the government has prioritized children empowerment in its national development programs.

Source: Xinhua

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