MINGORA: Four boys who were kidnapped by militants to be trained as suicide bombers have narrated harrowing tales of their ordeal in captivity.
They said militants had taken them by force from their villages to training camps in different parts of Matta where a large number of other boys were being trained as suicide bombers.
On Thursday, they were presented before a team of reporters here by security forces. Two of the boys were from Banr and the other two from Naway Kallay.
Two of them, who were in the Fazal Banda camp, said that at least 250 boys, most of them in their teens, were getting training for terrorist acts and suicide bombings.
One of them said he was working in the field when armed men forced him into a car. ‘They blind-folded me and told me that I would get training for suicide bombing.’
‘The gunmen took me to the Fazal Banda camp where militants were training a large number of boys. They told us that security personnel were infidels and we should wage jihad against them. If our own families stopped us from joining jihad, we should target them as well.’
Another boy said he was in his village when some men sought his help to load luggage on a vehicle. ‘When I went to help them, some masked men bundled me into the vehicle and drove away.
‘They put a mask on my face and removed it at a training camp in Chuparyal.’
He said that as many as 150 boys were getting physical training in the camp.
When asked about the other boys, he said some of them had joined militants on their own and some had been kidnapped.
One of the boys said he was out of his home when some Taliban forced him to go with them to acquire training for jihad. ‘They trained us and gave us little food. Three to four boys would get one chapati and some green tea. They warned us that anyone trying to escape would be slaughtered.’
The boys escaped from the training centres after three to four days and reached their homes.
‘On our fourth morning at the camp, we got up along with other Taliban for prayers. We went out of the barracks for ablution and ran away,’ said two boys.
The families of the four, who had to leave their homes after the military operation was launched in April, have returned to their areas.
But the boys complained that local people now called them terrorists and suicide bombers and harassed them.
‘Media people are also after us and trying to take our pictures and talk to us. ‘The security forces also don’t let us live peacefully and call us every other day to be presented before the media,’ they said.