Children Forced to Shoot In Sudan

It was the middle of class when armed men burst into a school one morning in December 2013 in the town of Rubkona, in South Sudan’s Unity State. Pointing their weapons at bewildered pupils, the men forced scores of teenage boys to climb into military trucks that had pulled up outside. Across town, in another Rubkona school, similar scenes were unfolding. There was no time for the boys to object, or to say goodbye to their families. Then, as suddenly as they’d arrived, the trucks tore away, carrying inside them hundreds of boys ages 14 to 17. The abduction, by former government soldiers who defected to become opposition fighters, had taken just minutes. Squeezed inside the trucks, the boys most likely knew they were heading to war. Both government and rebel forces in South Sudan forcibly recruit children into their ranks. Both sides deny it, but a new report by Human Rights Watch, “We Can Die Too,” shows the practice is widespread. In all, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 100 child soldiers for the report. All the children said conditions were hard, food was scarce, and that they were often hungry. There was little or no medical care. Beatings and detention were common. The boys slept out in the bush. Sometimes they slept in trees because they were afraid of animals. Many teenagers said that at first they were incredibly afraid, but as fighting began they were able to control their emotions. “Once you feel the bullets leaving your gun, you lose your fear,” said one young fighter. Just think what if it was your kid. Forced to do things no child should have to do and experience things no person at all should have to. Children should not be used as soldiers especially not forcibly. They have rights and need to be respected. Tell us what you think!

Information based on a report from Human Rights Watch with Opinions from Raymond Iglesias, Youth Organizer, from Kids Meeting Kids.

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