| Terrorism

Possible Uzbekistani child becomes ISIL executioner

By Maksim Yeniseyev


Children recruited by ISIL prepare to shoot prisoners in Mosul in a video that ISIL posted November 9. The possible Uzbekistani native called Abubakr-Uzbeki is on the left. [Screen shot by Maksim Yeniseyev]

TASHKENT -- A video posted online depicting four children shooting hostages in the Iraqi city of Mosul has shocked Uzbekistanis. One of the killers is a native of Uzbekistan, according to the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL), which posted the video recently.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights November 11 denounced the slayings and ISIL's exploitation of children.

ISIL uploaded the video November 9.

Gruesome murders on screen

In the graphic video, "adolescents aged 10 to 14 murder four men they called 'spies'," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamsadani told UN Radio November 11. "Our operatives in Iraq confirmed the video's authenticity."

In the video, ISIL said the four young killers came from three countries, including Uzbekistan and Iraq. All four are presumably the children of militants.

A speaker in the video identifies the boy as "Abubakr-Uzbeki", a nickname that an Uzbekistani national would adopt. He appears to be about 10.

The young murderers in the video attended an ISIL suicide bomber training camp called "Lion Cubs of the Caliphate," sources told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

ISIL is training teenaged militants, an Uzbekistani ISIL member, Khurshid Mukhtarov, confirmed to RFE/RL.

Ordinary Uzbekistanis who saw the video were horrified.

"Any mother's heart would tremble" at the sight of the video, Tashkent resident Mokhinur Nurmatova told Caravanserai. "These children have no understanding of what they're doing ... What will they do when they grow up and realise that they were lied to?"

"His parents alone are guilty of this -- they're criminals," another Tashkent resident, Farrukh Ablayev, told Caravanserai. "If they hadn't taken him away to Syria, he would have had a normal happy childhood in Uzbekistan ... Adults made a murderer out of him. They should be punished."

Using young suicide bombers

ISIL during the week of November 7-13 sent teenaged suicide bombers into combat in Mosul, UN Radio also reported November 11.

"The destruction of families is currently causing great concern," Gairat Akhmadshoyev, chief of the High Commissioner for Refugees office in Kirkuk, Iraq, told UN Radio November 15. "ISIL has kidnapped some families or members of families ... Others have been forced to leave their homeland without their relatives."

Grim fate for extremists

However, militants -- youths and their recruiters alike -- find fate catching up to them.

Abu Wathbah al-Saudi, who recruited teenagers for ISIL, was killed in combat in Mosul, Iraqi News reported August 24.

A young Uzbekistani suicide bomber, Jafar, was shown blowing himself up in combat in Syria in an extremist video posted in September 2015.

In Uzbekistan, police regularly nab extremist recruiters and proselytisers. Successful extremist recruitment of teenagers in Uzbekistan is exceedingly rare.

Stiff punishment awaits young extremists. Firdavs Salimov, who was 18 when he pasted fliers with ISIL symbols to the walls of schools in Parkent District, Tashkent Province, in April 2015, received a nine-year prison sentence for his crime, General Prosecutor's Office spokesman Arif Atajanov told Caravanserai.

During the first six months of 2016, authorities in Uzbekistan arrested 549 individuals accused of extremist affiliations, the government said in August.

Society is promoting an anti-extremism message to match law enforcement's stern attitude. A fashion show, Golden Fall 2016, that took place in Tashkent November 13 included a Children against War collection. The models appealed to society to stop wars that kill children.

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