African Child Soldiers

“The section leader ordered us to take cover and open fire. There were seven of us, and seven or ten of the enemy. I was too afraid to look, so I put my face in the ground and shot my gun up at the sky. I was afraid their bullets would hit my head. I fired two magazines, about forty founds. I was afraid that if I didn’t fire the section leader would punish me.”
- Khin Maung Than, recruited by Burma’s national army at age eleven

The Facts

- Child soldiers, once captured, can become cooks, porters, spies, messengers, guards, combat soldiers and they can even be used for suicide missions.

- In countries including Uganda, reports show that more then a third of the soldiers used in combat are females.  They may serve as soldiers, be raped, or be given to military commanders as their wives.

- Some children offer themselves up to be soldiers because of economic and/or social pressure, and they believe that being a part of an armed force will keep them fed and safe.

- Children that are not well-off are more likely to become a part of an armed force than those who are.

- Advances in technology have made weaponry just as easy for children to operate as adults.

- Due to the fact that children are not mentally and emotionally mature yet, they are more vulnerable and are easy to control and brainwash.

- The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers is working hard to put an end to the use of children for warfare.

 

“Early on when my brothers and I were captured, the LRA explained to us that all five brothers couldn’t serve in the LRA because we would not perform well. So they tied up my two younger brothers and invited us to watch. Then they beat them with sticks until two of them died. They told us it would give us strength to fight. My youngest brother was nine years old.”
- Martin, recruited by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda at age twelve

                                                                                                 

 

                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

"I was captured in Lofa County by government forces. The forces beat me, they held me and kept me in the bush. I was tied with my arms kept still and was raped there. I was fourteen years old. . . . After the rape, I was taken to a military base. . . I was used in the fighting to carry medicine. During the fighting I would carry medicine on my head and was not allowed to talk. I had to stand very still. I had to do a lot of work for the soldiers, sweeping, washing, cleaning. During this time, I felt really bad. I was afraid. I wanted to go home, but was made to stay with the soldiers."
- Evelyn, recruited in Liberia by government forces at age fourteen
For more child soldier quotes...click here

 

Works Cited

“The Voices of Child Soldiers.” Human Rights Watch. 2 Feb 2007. <http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/crp/voices.html>

 “Child soldier use rises globally.” BBC News. 2 Feb 2007.

            <http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39745000/jpg/_39745633_congo203afp.jpg >

 “Facts about Child Soldiers.” Human Rights Watch. 2 Feb 2007.

            <http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/crp/fact_sheet.html>

“Children on the Front Lines.” Amnesty International. <web.mit.edu/amnesty/www/events.shtml>

 Boddy-Evans, Alistair. “Africa's Child Soldiers Aren't Only Boys.” 26 April 2005. 2 Feb 2007.  About.com.

            <http://africanhistory.about.com/b/a/165273.htm?terms=child+soldiers>

 The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. 2 Feb 2007.  <http://www.child-soldiers.org/>

 

 

Meredith Lokan