Child soldiers

Armed groups

Child soldierDecades of conflict in Chad meant continual fighting between the army and rebel groups. And from 2003, Chad has been drawn into the conflict surrounding the Darfur region of neighbouring Sudan. With no agreements about the recruitment of children, many youngsters joined the armed forces or militias.

Child Rights

Chad has signed up to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Peace deals have brought an end to much of the fighting. And from 2007, the government has taken steps to demobilise child soldiers and get children back into society.

However, with an estimated 7,000–10,000 children within the various armed groups, many thousands of child soldiers still remain.

Part of the problem is the shortage of schools or training centres where youngsters can be placed.

High levels of poverty, especially in the east, also compound the problem. Certain regions are fairly lawless, with a number of armed groups engaging in general banditry. It's common for these militias to attack local villages. Locals sometimes see the recruitment of their children into such groups or into the army as a way of protecting themselves and their village.

And with few other opportunities, for many children, becoming a soldier or fighter seems like the only option they have.