n Conflict Trends - The reintegration process for child soldiers in Liberia

Volume 2009, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


The 14-year conflict in Liberia was notorious for the young age of its combatants. In the first part of the conflict - during which Charles Taylor launched his rebellion, which eventually engulfed the country and led to his election as president in 1997 - it is estimated that children under 18 made up approximately 30% of the fighters. During the second phase of the conflict, which officially came to an end in August 2003, there were an estimated 15 000 child soldiers. All three signatories to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement: Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) rebel groups, as well as Taylor's government troops, were guilty of using children as soldiers. Particularly infamous was Taylor's "Small Boys Unit", made up of young boys who were known to call Taylor "", or father.

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