AFRICAN CHILD-SOLDIERS ON THE INCREASE


Just as the adage goes when two elephants fight the grass suffers. Such is the case of the conflict in the DRC where women and children have become helpless victims; young girls are being raped while 7 year olds string AK-47’s to fight in battles they know next to nothing about.

The main culprit in this more than 2-decades meaningless war is renegade General Laurent Nkunda whose rag-tag army is accused of recruiting several children across central Africa in its raids on several DRC towns. Engaging child soldiers isn’t a new phenomenon; wars in Liberia, Sierra-Leone and Rwanda were predecessors to this ugly trend.

A proliferation of militia groups in Africa’s hotbed has led to a scramble for more soldiers; consequently the children provide a reservoir for the militias supply. Chilling accounts of the war in Sierra-Leone were Johnny Koroma’s RUF was reported to have practically brainwashed the children into believing their parents were the enemies; turning them into killing machines.

A 50 year old clergyman who was once recruited as a teenager in the DRC war believes that there are at least 30,000 children engaged in the conflict. ‘It started long time ago, I was among the many children who were recruited in my time but I escaped’

He was one of panel of discussants on a TV programme to discus child soldiers in Africa. Permilla Ironside, the only journalist on the panel sees the end of the trend in ending the conflict quickly. But ending the DRC conflict appears to be a quandary for President Kabila, General Nkunda is war monger who knows no bounds; a peace treaty brokered by the UN and DRC early this year has been shattered following renewed attacks beginning from last month, worse still Nkunda was the only rebel war-lord who entered the peace deal from a renegade cluster group of more than 42- a case of love gone sour. If General Nkunda decides to pursue his dream to invade the entire Southern DRC then maybe strengthening the existing UN peacekeeping would be the best precautionary step to be taken. But where does all this leave the children, one panelist thinks their best chance lay with a well structured rehabilitation system. The Sierra-Leonean and Rwandan examples are bright examples for the African continent.

Accountability is a key issue that has not been addressed by the African Union, UN and the DRC. Laurent Nkunda continues to hobnob in the DRC corridors of power, and only recently a number of DRC cabinet ministers threw in their support for the renegade. The neutrality of multinational companies cannot be respected in war-torn DRC or any other hot bed in the continent. As long as they do business with the locals they must take more than a passing interest in how things are run in the country, by this I do not mean a direct interference in Government but calling a spade a spade rather playing the sedentary role of the diplomat.

emmafemi, CONNECTAFRICA

 

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5 Responses

  1. Hello,
    my name is sasha and I am a senior at Harding High School and im working on a powerpoint project about child soldiers.Im looking to find as much information as possible as to who employs them ? why are they child soldiers ? what do they do ?.etc.
    if you can update me on this information i will highly appreciate it.
    Thank You

  2. hi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. hi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. In some cases the kids cut of their hands because they are ordered to kill their own families

  5. These kids are mare victims of circumstances, recruiting children into the army is an ugly trend that must be curbed, they drain every fiber of humanity inherent in this kids leaving them out as blood thirsty carnivorous. What can I say? we can only pray and hope for peace

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