Lebanon has ordered an investigation into horrific video footage that’s gone viral on the internet showing a small child beating a boy, believed to be Syrian, urged on by adults.
In the footage, which can’t be independently verified, the child, named Abbas, swings a club at the thin, older boy, beating him on various parts of his body, slapping him and kicking him.
“I have asked the attorney-general to take open an investigation” into the video footage, Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said.
“The boy being beaten is most probably Syrian and his family most probably lives in the (eastern) Bekaa Valley,” near the border with Syria, he said.
The video was posted online by a Lebanese portal, which said it obtained it through a mobile phone.
Abbas, who appears to be five or six and has a pony tail, hits the unidentified boy with a club, punches him in the face, slaps him and kicks him in the shin as adults and children offscreen urge tougher action and harder beatings.
The boy tries to shield himself with his arms but a male adult voice orders him to bring his arms down and then tells Abbas to hit him again.
“Abbas hit him, don’t be afraid,” the male voice says.
Abbas is told to slap the boy and does so, then is told to kick him in the stomach and again complies as if it is a game.
The footage has sparked shocked and angry comments on Twitter and Facebook.
“When I saw this shameful video I felt, for the first time, ashamed of being Lebanese,” said one Facebook user.
“This video shows a new level of savagery,” another tweeted.
Lebanon hosts more than a million refugee from Syria’s civil war.
Their presence in the tiny country has exacerbated resources, prompting many Lebanese to blame Syrians for Lebanon’s economic problems and chronic water shortages.