Darfur Child Soldiers (2009): Kidnapped, trained to kill and forced to fight for rebel leaders. Darfur’s estimated 10,000 child soldiers must now face either prison or a full pardon, returning them to the parents they left behind.
For similar stories, see:
The Crisis in Darfur Is Only Getting Worse
The Beginnings of Democracy in Sudan (2010)
A Hero Has Emerged From the South Sudanese War (2010)
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“Five of them, they showed me their hands. They had been tied for about a week in the cars. This means they didn’t want to go,” tells Hasabo Abdelrahman, Humanitarian Commisioner of Sudan. This is just one of the ways the Darfur Rebel Justice and Equality Movement, also known as JEM, enlisted boys as young as 10 to fight alongside them. Some were recruited in Darfur, others in the refugee camps of neighbouring Chad. But when JEM launched a surprise attack on Khartoum in May 2008, many boys saw their chance for escape. Tanks of Sudanese forces overwhelmed the rebel movement and the children fled, hungry and desperate, into nearby towns. “They were only small, 15 or 16 years old,” says one shopkeeper. “They looked very tired and thirsty.” Although several child soldiers were later picked up by the police, many, such as Ibrahim, were simply grateful to no longer have to fight: “Thanks to God it’s over.” But the future remains unclear for these child soldiers. The Sudanese government has reached an agreement with the international Red Cross to trace the boys’ parents but is still considering prosecuting the boys in juvenile court.
Chris Milner – Ref. 4301
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