Putting “child” and “soldier” together may seem so unnatural, but it’s a reality for many of our planet’s most vulnerable. There are about 250,000 kids currently serving in armed conflicts for both rebel groups and government forces in various Asian countries, parts of Latin America, the Middle East, Europe and most critically in Africa.
In Central Africa, children have been the prime victims an instruments of armed conflict. The Lord's resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Sudan, abducted and used over 60,000 children as soldiers, sex slaves and porters. Thousands of these kids are believed to have died during their slavery. Between January and March 2011, there were 107 attacks and 178 confirmed abductions by the LRA in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Sudan.
Children are often forced to commit violent acts against friends and family to have their spirits broken…. Young girls are raped and given to much older officers for wives, almost always ensuring rejection by their communities, even upon escape. When not carrying a weapon, these kids may find themselves testing out minefields, spying on people or completing suicide missions.
Whether vulnerably poor, seeking food or shelter, whether separated from families, living in a combat zone, displaced, under economic or social pressure, whether abducted or forcibly recruited… unless rescued… these kids face a very limited future.
Psalm 35v10 reads: “You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.” Then who is willing to reach out and care for these frequently forgotten children… to be God’s hands and feet in this rescue?
For more info, visit:
UNICEF press releases and news notes ‘Child Soldiers’