Last Updated: Mon Aug 13, 2012 23:51 pm (KSA) 20:51 pm (GMT)

‘Schools’ set up by al-Qaeda to teach children terrorism: report

Al Qaeda has been setting up “terrorist schools” keeping kidnapped young children (Reuters)
Al Qaeda has been setting up “terrorist schools” keeping kidnapped young children (Reuters)

Al-Qaeda has been setting up “terrorist schools” to allegedly confine kidnapped young children and brainwash them into future attacks on western countries, the Daily Mail reported on Sunday.

The “school” keeps the young children, all under the age of ten and some as young as seven, chained to beds while they are taught a very extreme version of Islam, the newspaper stated. It has been claimed that they were also taught about suicide bombings and told they would go to paradise if they committed suicide in “martyrdom operations.”

Terror investigator Neil Doyle uncovered pictures of locked-up children after authorities carried out a raid on a school in Mogadishu. The classes were being carried out at an Islamic boarding school and the children were being taught by a member of the terrorist group al-Shabaab, a group inspired by al-Qaeda. The raid was one of several operations authorized by the government and led to 200 people being arrested.

When caught, the teacher claimed that the children were put in chains as punishment for missing classes. The children’s parents were unaware they were there, reported the Daily Mail.

“The images suggest al-Shabaab has turned to slavery in order to produce a generation of child soldiers and suicide bombers.” Doyle, author of Terror Base UK and Terror Tracker told the Sunday Mirror.

“The group has lost a lot of ground to government troops and it almost beggars belief that they have adopted widespread child abuse as a way of trying to engineer a comeback.” He added.

Doyle went on to say: “they are following in the footsteps of other militants who target children, unfortunately, like the Afghan Taliban who regularly poison students at girls' schools and shoot teachers.”

Terrorist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a remote-controlled bomb that killed at least 8 Somali government troops just days before the revelation of the “school” came about.

The revelation of the school has heightened fears that al-Shabaab have set their sights on the United Kingdom. Their aims have become even clearer after twin brothers, Shabir and Shafiq Ali, pretended to be charity collectors in the UK, collecting funds for Palestine and the world’s poor, when actually they had been sending the money to their elder brother to give to terrorist organizations in Somalia, the report stated.

The 25-year-old twins were caught out after their home was raided and the counter terrorism police discovered a digital recording of a phone conversation with their brother.

Judge Justice Fulford said the men sent a minimum of £3,000 ($4,714) to their brother before being caught. They were both sentenced to three years in prison. They claim to have been inspired by al-Qaeda radical preacher Anwar al-Awalaki, the mastermind behind several bombings. He was killed in a drone strike last year.

The twins insisted that their brother was determined to commit suicide alongside others to create the “Islamic Emirate of Somalia.”

Somalia’s reputation for terrorists has only increased in recent times, leading to an international summit this year where William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary explained that the UK had to improve their efforts to stop terrorism in Somalia.

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