Recruiting of Child Soldiers for Chadian Army, Rebel Militias Remains Routine

Recruiting of Child Soldiers for Chadian Army, Rebel Militias Remains Routine

N'DJAMENA, Chad -- They usually come at night, to the sprawling refugee camps in eastern Chad along the border with Sudan. Recruiters for Chad-based rebel groups, which are locked in bloody combat with Khartoum and its militia proxies in Sudan's Darfur region, sometimes simply show up at the camps and new recruits, many of them still boys, come to them voluntarily.

But when there's a shortage of volunteers, the recruiters might resort to force, according to aid workers in eastern Chad. The aid workers, who spoke to World Politics Review on conditions of anonymity owing to the sensitivity of the subject, said the recruiters also have been known to use drums, like real-life pied pipers, to lure curious boys outside, where they're kidnapped. Destitute families have even sold their male children to armed groups, according to the sources.

The rebel recruiting tactics have fueled a continuing crisis in Chad. All sides in the country's conflicts, including rebels and government forces, count children as young as 10 years old among their ranks. Christiane Nikobamye, from aid group CARE International, told World Politics Review that there are at least 7,000 child soldiers in Chad.

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