Chad's army, rebels recruit child soldiers

2011-02-10 08:53

Nairobi - Chad's armed forces as well as Chadian and Sudanese rebel groups are recruiting children as young as 13 to become soldiers, Amnesty International said in a report released on Thursday.

The children are recruited from camps in eastern Chad, which has suffered a spillover from the Darfur conflict in neighbouring Sudan, Amnesty said.

Recruiters use family or appeal to the children's ethnic loyalties to get them to join. Sometimes they use child soldiers already in their ranks to lure the new recruits with money, clothes and cigarettes, the report said.

Where money is used, recruiters are reported to have paid children between $20 and $500 to join. In some cases, the children are abducted and forced to join the armed forces or rebel groups.

"It is tragic that thousands of children are denied their childhood and are manipulated by adults into fighting their wars," said Erwin van der Borght, Africa program director for Amnesty International. "This scandalous child abuse must not be allowed to continue."

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach government officials in Chad for comment failed.

Children can be easily recruited because of poverty. Some agree to join to seek revenge for relatives killed, while others see it as a family obligation, the report said.

Messengers

"I became upset because people were killing some of my relatives and pillaging our goods. While in the rebellion living conditions were difficult but we had enough food," one 17-year-old former child soldier told Amnesty. "What was the most difficult was taking part in the fighting. Many of us were my age. There is nothing joyful in the rebellion."

The report is based on interviews with 41 former child soldiers and a range of officials between April 2009 and October 2010. Amnesty International quoted the former child soldiers anonymously to protect their safety.

Another former child soldier told Amnesty he volunteered to join a rebel group when he was 14 years old without telling his family.

"At home we did not have enough for everyone, so I wanted to better our situation and join the army to help my family and my mother," said the boy, who is now 18.

Not all of the child recruits fight, the report said, adding that some are used as porters or messengers for the soldiers and rebels.

Refugees

Eastern Chad has suffered a spillover from the Darfur conflict in part because many rebels come from tribes that overlap the Chad and Sudan border. Some Darfur rebels have had bases in Chad, and the Chadian groups have had bases in Sudan.

However, for about a year there has been limited cross border fighting because the two governments have improved relations. The International Criminal Court has charged Sudan President Omar al-Bashir with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for the violence in Darfur. Chad did not arrest al-Bashir when he visited last July.

Chad's east is a temporary home to more than 250 000 refugees who have fled the conflict in Darfur. There are also camps for 187 000 Chadians displaced by fighting locally and in Darfur.

The Darfur conflict began in February 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in Khartoum, claiming discrimination and neglect. The U.N. says more than 300,000 people died because of the conflict.

- SAPA

Read more on:    sudan  |  chad
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zille: Only DA can challenge ANC in F State

The DA is the only party that can challenge the ANC in the Free State, opposition party leader Helen Zille says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Sir Lowry's Pass - 13:45 PM
    Road name: N2 Westbound
    HEAVY TRAFFIC over Sir Lowrys Pass - expect delays
  • Monday Somerset West - 13:45 PM
    Road name: N2 Westbound
    EXPECT DELAYS due to high volumes
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.