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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Why We Fight': Voices of Youth Combatants in Sierra Leone
Authors:Peters, KrijnISNI
Richards, PaulISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Sierra Leone
Subjects:civil wars
child soldiers
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161278
Abstract:In the African civil wars of the last twenty years combatants have become increasingly youthful. Combatants may sometimes be as young as 8 or 10, and girl fighters are increasingly common. This article deals with under-age combatants in the civil war in Sierra Leone, which started in 1991. Its purpose is to let young combatants explain themselves direct. The material derives from interviewing under-age ex-combatants undergoing rehabilitation in two programmes in Freetown in 1996. Additional interviews were obtained 'up country' with recently self-demobilized RUF/SL (Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone) conscripts. The authors' aim is to build up a 'bank' of interview material as an input to community and agency discussions about options for the demobilization and rehabilitation of children affected by war. A sample of nine interviews is presented here, representating all the major groups of under-age combatants in the war: RSLMF-linked (Republic of Sierra Leone Military Force, the government army) irregular units, the RUF/SL and the Kamajo militia (civil defence groups). Two of the interviews are with abductees who escaped from the RUF/SL. Bibliogr., notes, sum. in English and French.