Child Soldiers: What About the Girls?

Authored by: Dyan Mazurana and Susan McKay

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), Mass Atrocities, National Security Forces and Armed Groups, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Country: Mozambique
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2001
Citation: Mazurana, Dyan and Susan McKay. "Child Soldiers: What About the Girls?" Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 57, no. 5 (2001): 30-35.

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The 1992 peace accords ending the bloody 16-year civil war in Mozambique called for the demobilizinig of soldiers from both the goernment force, Frelimo (Front of the Liberation of Mozambique) and the rebel force, Renamo (Mozambique National Resistance). Throughout the war, children had been systematically kidnapped to fill out the ranks of each side. When the first soldier to be bed emobilized turned in his gun, the 16-year old said he had been abducted by Renamo at age 9. But it wasn’t just boys who were kidnapped. Young girls, too, were captured and forced into wartime service. The girls were treated as sexual property, allocated to soldiers as “wives,” distributed as rewards for good soldiering, or given to lcoal chiefs. When the fighting finally stopped, men and boys entered demobilization camps for rehabilitation and reintegration into society. The girls were often forgotten.