1 October 2018

Africa: Over 10 000 Kids Killed in Raging Wars

Photo: Stuart Price/IRIN
Children peer through a bullet hole in the wall of a building in Patongo camp, northern Uganda (file photo).

Mogadishu — More than 10 000 children have been killed while thousands have been forcibly recruited into the ranks of government and rebel forces in war torn countries over the past year.

Other minors have been maimed in the hotspots including Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) raised concern that tens of thousands of girls and boys were estimated to be recruited and used in conflicts worldwide.

The organisation lamented that many of the minors had been taken by force, while others joined due to economic or social pressure.

UNICEF reported a 70 percent increase in the cases of child abduction over the past year.

In the worst such trend, in Somalia, the Islamist Al-Shabaab terror group abducted more than 1 600 children with the primary objective of increasing their ranks by using boys and girls in combat and support roles.

"Children who are displaced or living in poverty are even more vulnerable to recruitment," the agency stated.

It highlighted children were recruited or used for various functions by armed forces and groups, including as fighters, cooks, porters, messengers and spies or were subjected to sexual exploitation.

The numbers of children recruited into armed forces are rising at alarming levels in the above-mentioned countries.

UNICEF stated that coinciding with brutal violations against children, warring parties were attacking against schools and hospitals thereby worsening the plight of children.

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