Security


Algeria: Al-Qaeda 'recruited over fifty under-16s from Dec-April'




Algiers, 14 Sept. (AKI) - The al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb between December and April recruited over 50 children aged under 16, the pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper reported on Friday, quoting Algerian intelligence sources.

Police were alarmed that a 15-year-old suicide bomber carried out a deadly attack earlier this month in the Algerian port city of Dellys. The boy managed to pass unnoticed through security checks.

Radical imams have recruited to al-Qaeda around 15 under-16s from poor districts of the capital, Algiers, to join its fighters hiding in the mountains of Algeria, police said.

Police said the US-led war in Iraq was being used as pretext to radicalise youngsters in Algeria and persuade them to join militants. They said many had been given training in carrying out suicide attacks either in Iraq or in Algeria.

The al-Kalitius neighbourhood of the village ofBourama on the outskirts of southern Algiers is a particular 'hotspot' for Jihadi recruiters, according to police.

After being taken into the mountains, the youngsters have come into contact with Tunisian and Libyan militants and have been trained alongside them to carry out car and truck bomb attacks, police said.

The police reports corroborate allegations made earlier this week by Algerian newspaper al-Khabar.

Another Algerian daily Ech-Chourouk, reports that children as young as 11 and 12 years of age have seen surfing jihadist websites in the country's Internet cafes and reading web pages giving instructions on how to make bombs and carry out attacks.

Ech-Chourouk - which closely follows al-Qaedas' activities in Algeria - lays the blame at the government's door. A lack of legislation regulating Internet cafes has allowed them to become a recruiting ground for impressionable children, the paper says.


 

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