A+ R A-

U.S.- Backed Somali Gov't Training Children For War

E-mail Print PDF

Share this article with a friend

Special to the NNPA from the GIN –

(GIN) - Recruited voluntarily or by force, child soldiers (boys and girls under the age of 18) are fighting in more than 30 conflicts worldwide - as combatants, messengers, porters, cooks or for sexual services.

The north African nation of Chad, with 450,000 displaced people in its eastern areas, is beset with child soldiers fighting for both government and rebel forces.

This week, a picture in The New York Times gripped readers with a heart-rending image of small boys, Mohamed, 12, and Ahmed, 15, holding heavy weapons, trained in killing by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. Because that government is backed by the U.S., it is likely that U.S. taxpayer money trained and financed these boys.

American military advisers oversee the training of Somali government soldiers in Uganda and officials acknowledge it is impossible to guarantee that American money is not being used to arm children. Fifteen year old Ahmed recalled his training: “One of the things I learned,” he said, “is how to kill with a knife.”

“I’ll be honest,” a Somali government official told the reporter from The Times. “We were trying to find anyone who could carry a gun.”

A U.N. report released last month also accused Somalia's transitional government and the country's al-Shabab rebels of killing and maiming children.

The United States and Somalia are the world’s only two countries not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits the use of soldiers younger than fifteen.

Add comment

By using our comment system, you agree to not post profane, vulgar, offensive, or slanderous comments. Spam and soliciting are strictly prohibited. Violation of these rules will result in your comments being deleted and your IP Address banned from accessing our website in the future. Your e-mail address will NOT be published, sold or used for marketing purposes.

Security code

BVN National News Wire