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Former Islamic State child recruit reveals details during NATO conference Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Former Islamic State child recruit reveals details during NATO conference

The child was just 13-years-old when he was recruited into the militant group [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 July, 2017

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A NATO security conference in Latvia heard a testimony of a 15-year-old child recruited into the Islamic State group.
A 15-year-old who defected from the Islamic State group has spoken out about his experience from within the ranks of the militant group, during a NATO conference on security.

The anonymous child, who joined the ranks when he was just 13-years-old, was speaking to delegates at the Stratcom Dialogue in Latvia, in a testimony designed to reveal how IS recruits young militants.

The child said he spent just one month military training at an undisclosed camp, where senior fighters engaged in brutal strategies to desensitise the young recruits.  

“A lot of the training was with weapons. If you get distracted when you’re holding a real weapon, they will put your finger in the barrel of the rifle and almost break it,” he said.

"They picked [a child] up in a truck and told him he was going to execute an infidel. He took the knife with him and they led him to the prisoner.

“The person’s hands were tied so he pulled his hair back and sawed across his neck until he was beheaded. Some people felt upset deep down but they wouldn’t say anything. If someone was executed, everyone would act happy and shout ‘Allahu Akbar!’”

Policy makers, academics and security experts in attendance heard of the militants’ treatment of prisoners, who were locked in cages and lowered into water as a form of torture, according to the former child recruit.

"They locked prisoners in cages, five or six people in a cage. They lower the cage in the water until they are almost about to drown. They drag them out and start again. And keep torturing them like that. No one knew what they did or who they were."

But despite the indoctrination, the young boy said the brutality he witnessed while with the group turned him against the Islamic State.

"I knew that older and younger people are being slaughtered and I knew it was wrong. I lost my country, everything.

"I would tell all the children in the world to not join this organisation, it’s not Muslim, they’re the infidels who slaughter innocent people.They pretend to be Muslim but they just teach people to blow themselves up and tell you you’re going to paradise – but none of it is true."

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