Despite promises on both sides to remove children from the ranks of their organizations by both rebels and government forces, recent clashes in the nation of Chad have sparked a renewed recruitment drive for child soldiers. Oxfam International says “armed groups continue to recruit child soldiers freely” in a recent Reuters article, and it has been reported that “recruitment campaigns, carried out by “‘unidentified entities’, often target refugee camps in eastern Chad“.
Many aid workers in Chad told IRIN the recruitment of children has increased in recent months. “Armed groups continue to recruit child soldiers freely”, the international organisation Oxfam said in a recent statement.
Back in 2007, UNICEF convinced the government of Chad to sign an agreement to “remove children working from armed forces and rebel groups and assist them”. However, in 2008 just 59 children were removed, and so far this year, none.
UNICEF estimates that today there are around 10,000 children under age 18 who work for the armed forces or rebel groups in the country. Child recruitment, which previously happened mainly in the east of the country, is starting to spread to other regions such as the south, aid workers say.
And then, there is the problem of proper DDR once the children are released. According to Reuters, “three of the five transition and orientation centres set up in 2007 to house the demobilised children have closed.”