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Child Soldiers


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Child Soldiers


Kamina's Story


The jungle grew sickeningly dark as Kamina sat pounding the cassava leaves for the men.  She could hear some of the men talking in the tent and she trembled with fear, trying to hide from their sight.  She knew if she kept low and made no noise, they might forget about her tonight, and she could sleep, for once, in peace, not afraid of the continual beatings or rapes.  She rubbed her swollen arm as she pounded away.  “One cassava, two cassava, three cassava, four,” she sang to herself as she huddled and pounded the root to a rhythmic beat.  And then she froze.

“Where is the dinner?” shrilled the captain, the leader of the rebel tribe.  She shook as she waited for his approach.  “You!” he screamed at the emaciated figure bent over the bowl. “You,” he shrilled again and pulling little Kamina to her feet.  “Time for you to kill at last.”

You,” he shrilled again and pulling little Kamina to her feet. “Time for you to kill at last.

Kamina shook as the man handed her a machete.  This was the first weapon the soldiers received.  She knew from little Jericho, her friend from her village, that this was the first, and then came the guns and the drugs till Jericho was another boy – someone she couldn’t recognize.

“Me?” she whimpered as she stood unmoving, the captain’s hand clenching her bony arm.

“You!” he yelled.

“Please sir, I am just a lowly cook,” she begged the captain.

Well, you are either a cook for us, or a cook against us, and you are only with us if you can kill.

“Well, you are either a cook for us, or a cook against us, and you are only with us if you can kill,” and at that, the captain pulled Kamina into the dark bush. Kamina blinked back tears as the captain dragged her along. After several minutes, they came to the edge of a clearing, a village that somehow looked familiar to her.

“There!” the captain whispered as a screaming woman was pulled from the hut by one of the other child soldiers. Kamina blinked harder as she was shoved, machete in hand in front of her very own aunt.

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facts


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facts


DEFINITION

A child soldier is any person under eighteen years of age who is “part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity including, but not limited to, combatants, cooks, porters, messengers and anyone accompanying such groups.” [1] This includes those “recruited for forced sexual purposes and/or forced marriage.” [2]

 

FACTS

  • The number of child soldiers worldwide is estimated to be 250,000.[3] The youngest child soldiers are as young as seven years old.[4]

  • Today, child soldiers are fighting in at least 21 countries, including Colombia, Myanmar (also known as Burma) and Afghanistan.  In most of these cases, there have been no arrest warrants, no trials and no convictions for those responsible.[5]

  • Most child soldiers are in Africa. It’s estimated that there are over 100,000 in Uganda, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan.[6]

  • An estimated 30,000 children have been abducted for the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa.[7]

  • On the Thailand-Burma border, eleven year old boys are threatened or coerced by recruiters to join the army.[8]

  • In Afghanistan, the Taliban have stepped up the use of children for suicide attacks.[9]

  • In Somalia, the Islamic armed group Shabab has increasingly targeted children for forced recruitment, often abducting children as young as ten years old from their homes or schools.[10]

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Get Involved


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Get Involved


Help a Former Child Soldier in Nigeria go through a Rehabilitation Program

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See the challenge. value the person. partner for change.


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See the challenge. value the person. partner for change.


It is immoral that adults should want children to fight their wars for them… There is simply no excuse, no acceptable argument for arming children.
— Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu