Armed forces arrested a 12-year-old boy, identified as Ayoub Moussa Ayad, in the Northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zuwayed Monday, accusing him of involvement in “terrorist actions against the army and police.”
Official spokesperson of the Armed Forces commented on the arrest Wednesday in a post titled, “Thwarting of terrorist groups’ plans to use children in operations against security forces.”
Also included in the post are photos of the pre-teen, who has been accused of involvement in alleged terrorist operations. The purported photos of young Ayad show a boy holding a walkie-talkie, sitting in the driver’s seat of a pick-up truck. Another photo (not including the boy) is of a barrel containing grey-colored powder.
“The 12-year-old was apprehended while attempting to detonate explosives via a cordless device,” the post further alleged, accusing Ayad of monitoring both stationary checkpoints and mobile security patrols located in Sheikh Zuwayed at the behest of terrorist organizations seeking to “destabilize the nation” and “burn down the country.”
The post claims terrorist groups are exploiting women and children in their operations against security forces, “with no regard for basic human emotions.”
The boy’s fate and place of detention are not mentioned. Nor does the post mention if he is to stand trial before a military tribunal or civilian court.
From early 2011 to 2012, Human Rights Watch documented Egypt’s referral of at least 43 juveniles to military courts.
Countless numbers of other children have been held in the same detention centres as adults, contravening international human rights stipulations, which Egypt has agreed to. A number of child detainees have also reportedly been physically and psychologically abused.
Egyptian children’s rights activists condemned the security forces’ posting of photos of Ayad on Facebook, along with the circulation of the photos on other portals.