Worry over continued recruitment of children as soldiers

child soldiersfrom EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja , Lagos
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – AS MANY as 300 000 children are believed to be serving as soldiers in armed conflicts, mostly in Africa, in violation of a pledge world leaders made a decade ago to stop the trend.
In the continent, the problem is rife in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan.
Their Work, a children’s rights charity, said these boys and girls, some as young as seven, serve in government forces and armed opposition groups.
They fight on frontlines, participate in suicide missions and act as spies, messengers or lookouts.
“Girls are often forced into sexual slavery,” the organisation bemoaned.
It reported many are abducted or recruited by force, while others join out of desperation, believing these armed groups offer their best chance for survival.
The disclosure came after leaders gathered in France to mark the tenth anniversary of the Paris Commitments to end the use of children in conflict.
As many as 10 000 children have been used by armed groups involved in the latest conflict in CAR.
In neighbouring DRC, it is estimated there are 30 000 child soldiers while the terrorist group Boko Haram recruited 2 000 child soldiers in 2016, according to the United Nations.
The UN reported that 903 children had been recruited by Al-Shabaab terrorists and government forces in Somalia.
An estimated 17 000 children have been recruited in South Sudan since 2013.
The children are used as combatants, guards, human shields, porters, messengers, spies, cooks and/or for sexual purposes.
At least 65 000 children have been released from armed forces and armed groups in that decade, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Syria and Yemen are the other countries afflicted by the problem.
CAJ News

Short URL: http://cajnewsafrica.com/?p=18438

Posted by on Mar 1 2017. Filed under Africa & World, Featured, National, News, Regional. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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