A media organization linked to Boko Haram, al Urwa al Wuthaqa, has released two images purporting to show children training somewhere in northeastern Nigeria.
The two photos show at least a dozen children in what appears to be a weapons training program. Several are seen holding AK-47 assault rifles, while others are seen holding cutouts of weapons. Some children appear to be girls, while the majority pictured are young boys.
Boko Haram joins several other jihadist groups around the world in showcasing training for young children. In 2013, the Turkistan Islamic Party, an al Qaeda affiliated group that operates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and Syria, released a video showing kids training in Pakistan. The Taliban are also known to operate training camps, including those for suicide bombings, for youth in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Additionally, The Long War Journal has identified several training camps for children in Iraq and Syria. These camps are run by jihadist groups such as the Islamic State, the Al Nusrah Front, Junud al Sham, and Ahrar al Sham. [For more on training camps for children in Iraq and Syria, see LWJ report Jihadists tout training camps for children in Iraq and Syria]
Boko Haram is an al Qaeda-linked group operating in Nigeria. The group controls vast amounts of territory in the northeastern part of the country. In addition to killing countless Nigerians, the group also poses a threat to neighboring countries. [For more information on Boko Haram, see LWJ reports Boko Haram continues to slaughter Nigerians, Boko Haram overruns Multinational Joint Task Force base, and Chad joins Cameroon, Nigeria, in fight against Boko Haram]
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