Weary from War: Child Soldiers in the Congo

By Kim, Susanna | Harvard International Review, Winter 2006 | Go to article overview

Weary from War: Child Soldiers in the Congo


Kim, Susanna, Harvard International Review


Now known as Africa's first world war, the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) began in 1998 among seven nations. The war has cost nearly 4 million lives, and its methods have proven equally vicious: the warring states and militia groups involved have been employing children, from ages 8 to 17, as combatants. Despite the conflict's official end in 2003 and the establishment of a new government under Joseph Kabila, the continued presence of militia groups in the Congo's Ituri district and the repercussions of the Congolese war for the conflicts in Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda are producing further warfare. The ongoing violence in the east and the legacy of war have ensured the continued use of child soldiers, creating incredible difficulties for those being demobilized.

The fallout from the 1994 Rwandan genocide launched the war in the DRC as Rwanda and Uganda claimed that members of the extremist Hutu government responsible for the genocide had taken refuge in eastern Congo. They supported a May 1997 rebellion to replace leader Mobutu Sese Seko with Laurent Kabila. The Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo (AFDL), which was mainly responsible for this overthrow, first began to recruit several thousand child soldiers in 1996, establishing a precedent that all other warring groups still follow.

During these recruitments, some children enlisted voluntarily either for a monthly pay of US$100, extremely generous by Congolese standards, or to protect their communities. However, thousands of others were forced into military service after being abducted from streets, schools, refugee camps, or even their own homes. These child soldiers underwent rigorous military training. Due to brutal treatment, including torture and deprivation of food, sleep, and healthcare, hundreds died. Those who managed to survive became cooks, spies, or porters. As soldiers they were forced to commit atrocities such as murdering and raping civilians, enemy soldiers, or even family members All of the recruited youths experienced military combat, whether fighting directly or acting as shields for adult soldiers. Although it is impossible to state the total number of child soldiers who have died as a result, estimates are in the thousands and rising.

As the widespread use of child soldiers caught the world's attention, Joseph Kabila, who succeeded his assassinated father as president, demobilized 300 soldiers enlisted in the DRC government army and released them into the care of the United Nations in December 2001. Since then, thousands of child soldiers from other militia groups have undergone the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) process, adopted in 2004 as a national program. The DDR process requires that the children be placed in demobilization centers, where they receive medical and nutritional care, psychological support, and literacy and vocational training before being reunited with their families.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The demobilization process has not been as effective as anticipated, due partly to the politics of the war. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Weary from War: Child Soldiers in the Congo
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.