Tuesday, January 27, 2009
There are an estimated 300,000 Child Soldiers around the world , ever year the number gowes up. As many childern are recruited for use in active combat.In the civil war in Sierra Leone children fight for both the rebels - the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the pro-government local militia, the Kamajors. The Kamajors do much of the front-line fighting for the government and the West African peace-keeping force, ECOMOG. Often after the RUF attacks a village they abduct the surviving children. The children, many of whom have seen their parents slaughtered, are then removed to special camps. Those children who escape often join the Kamajors who give them shelter and food.For the last 50 years there has been conflict in Burma between the government and rebel ethnic minorities. 15-year-old Zaw Tun fought in the Burmese army. The development of lighter weapons - such as the AK47 - means that boys as young as eight can be armed.The smallest boys are placed closest to the enemy. In war, they are said to be fearless. Children are often less demanding soldiers than adults. They are cheaper to keep as they eat less and are easier to manipulate.Both sides believe the unpredictability of small children makes them better fighters. Some are sent into battle high on drugs to give them courage.
The Burmese military regime also uses children in combat. The children work as slave labourers, carrying army supplies or working on government construction projects.