Four women and four children have been arrested in Tanzania, after police raided a house thought to be used for training terrorists.

The East African website reported that on Thursday (17 Nov.), security forces from the coastal city of Dar es Salaam arrested the women and children at a house belonging to a man known as Suleiman in the Kilongoni-Vikindu area.

Police Commander Simon Sirro said the eight had been taught judo, karate, kung fu and the use of weapons and firearms. They had also attended a Madrasa (Islamic school) neighbouring the ‘camp’, where they received training on the use of guns and fighting techniques.

Tanzania’s security forces are on high alert following an increase in the recruitment of children by criminal and terrorist groups. In October, police arrested a female Madrasa teacher accused of training children for terrorism in Bagamoyo, 60km north of Dar es Salaam. She was arrested alongside 22 children, 16 of whom were girls.

The indoctrination of children and young people is a growing problem across East Africa, with Al-Shabaab claiming to have a network of sleeper cells in Tanzania’s northern neighbour, Kenya.

World Watch Monitor sources say disaffected youths are picked up by extremist groups and taught that their duty is to actively fight non-Muslim “infidels”.

As the world focuses on potential military advances against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, it risks overlooking another vast region where militant Islam is a growing threat to the Church – in the continent where the Church is growing fastest: Africa.