Monday, 6 February 2017

ISIS, Boko Haram are recruiting child refugees - Quilliam report

A report from counter-extremism think tank Quilliam states that an estimated 88,300 unaccompanied children are at risk of being radicalized by extremist groups

- Researchers warns that jihadi groups, including Isis and Boko Haram, have attempted to recruit children within refugee camps using financial incentives

Extremist groups, including Isis and Boko Haram in a desperate attempt to attract new recruits to their ranks are now paying smugglers’ fees for child refugees.

According to the UK Guardian, a report from counter-extremism think tank Quilliam, states that that an estimated 88,300 unaccompanied children – identified by the European Union’s police agency Europol as having gone missing – were at risk of being radicalized.

The report which was published on, Monday, February 6, warns that jihadi groups, including ISIS and Boko Haram, have attempted to recruit within refugee camps using financial incentives, as well as working with the people smugglers.

Nikita Malik, a senior researcher at Quilliam, said: “Young asylum seekers are targeted by extremist groups as they are more vulnerable to indoctrination, make able fighters and, in the case of girls, can create a new GENERATION of recruits. This report outlines national and international requirements to reduce the risk of child-trafficking, extremism and modern slavery.”

Malik citing a propaganda material form the extremist groups said from June last year to last month, she 263 instances of such groups attempted to convince refugees to wage jihad against non-believers or join extremists and convert to Islam.

Examining the online material from Isis, the Taliban, al-Qaida, al-Shabaab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria, researchers found the four Islamist groups mentioned refugees every day between 13 June 2016 and 8 January 2017, with the most dominant theme – 53% of all references – relating to calls from fighters and believers urging refugees to wage jihad. Another 32.1% of the gathered data related to “negative grievances”, the grim consequences if they attempted to leave.

According to researchers, ISIS had offered up to $2,000 (£1,600) to recruit within camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Last year, Jordanian special forces reportedly found what they described as an Isis sleeper cell inside a refugee camp near Irbid, north Jordan. Additional reports indicated that Isis had tried to recruit refugees by supplying food previously withheld from camp residents.

It cited the failures in the approach of Europe, particularly the UK, towards protecting child refugees travelling alone as a reason for the child refugee exploitation.

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The researchers state that one of the hotspots where the child refugees were particularly vulnerable to recruitment by extremist organisations is the north African coast where Quilliam said Isis fighters have offered £800 to those who join them.

The reports also identified the south Libyan town of Qatrun, as another hotpot where ISIS is believed to have offered £450 smuggler fees to allow refugees to travel north if they joined its ranks.

In a related news, the Nigeria Police Force has discovered a suspected Boko Haram sleeper cell in Kano state.

The police made the discovery in a joint operation it carried out with men of the Nigerian Securities and Civil Defence Corps, the Hisbah as well as local vigilantes in the state.

The action to rid the state of insurgency, according to the New Telegraph, became necessary following the constant alarm raised by the state governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Ganduje had often warned of the influx of insurgents who have been dislodged from the north-east.

The report said it was in the process of combing black spots in the state that the cell was discovered while 53 Boko Haram suspects are said to have been arrested following credible intelligence.

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