Chad: Fact Sheet
- Population: 8.3 million
- Government Armed Forces: 30,350
- Number of Child Soldiers: 1000
- In 2003, tens of thousands of people fled to Chad from Sudan in order to escape persecution
- Mouvement pour la democratie et justice au Tchad (MDJT) - Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad
- Part of MDJT continues to employ the use of child soldiers in order to fight government forces in northern Chad
- MDJT is active diamond mining, arms trafficking, and the Liberian conflict
- Government officials continue to commit crimes against children linked to armed opposition groups
- Violent militia attacks in eastern Chad kill more than 300 children
- Government failure to protect citizens has forced community-based militias to use some child soldiers in order to provide for protection from rebel groups
- A 2005 peace agreement with MDJT broke the rebel group into many different sectors
- Most of the child soldiers in government forces have been said to be demobilized and placed in rehabilitation
Chad's Current Conflict
Many violent widespread military attacks have claimed the lives of more than 300 people in southeastern Chad. Meanwhile, the Sudanese and military groups based in the area continue the unlawful recruitment of child soldiers in order to increase tensions and violence throughout the country. Three potent patterns of violence are pushing eastern Chad closer and closer to the brink of collapse: internal conflict between government forces and rebel groups, militia groups launching attacks across the border from Sudan, and violence spreading between the tense communities. Communal violence continues, as the government has spent all of its resources and funding on foreign threats, while ignoring the ever-present threat communities face from the presence of rebel groups. As a result of the failure, communities continue to form their own militias. The presence of even more militias has increased the tension of the country to a height never recorded in the history of Chad.
The sectarian violence spread through eastern Chad has become even more polarized because of the presence of vastly different ethnic groups. Arab villages have been depleted of security from the government because of the danger of the area and the polarization of the country. As more and more arms and ammunition flow into the region, eastern Chad stands at the verge of extensive communal hostility.
Chad's Use of Child Soldiers
In 2006, many instances of child soldier presence in the ranks of Chad’s army and many faction and militia groups have been recorded. The Human Rights Watch organization noted that the Sudanese rebel groups present in eastern Chad employed the use of many child soldiers in the ongoing civil strife. The leaders of the Sudanese rebel groups claim that the children are much safer in armed conflicts then on the streets. In some cases, 11-year olds have been seen carrying sniper rifles while sitting in a jeep. Many demobilized children have shared their horrid and gory experiences while fighting for the rebel groups, as many children endure constant malnutrition and torture if they do not obey.
Since child soldiers are inexperienced and immature, they are more vulnerable to fatalities than their adult counterparts, and it is clear that children in the northern faction of Tora Bora have suffered greatly for their inexperience. Two child soldiers of the ages 13 and 16 were killed when they mishandled a rocket-propelled grenade. Tora Bora has been notorious for taking advantage of the immaturity of children.
- "Chad." Child Soldiers Global Report 2004. 2004. 1 March 2007 <http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=765>.
- "Chad." Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. 16 January 2004. 25 January 2007 <http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=701>.
- Dakar, Senegal and Nick Tattersall. "Child Soldiers: 'The Situation is Dire'." Mail and Guardian Online. 5 February 2007. 16 March 2007 <http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=298074&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__africa/>.
- "The use of children as soldiers in Africa." Relief Web. 15 May 2002. 6 March 2007 <http://www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/chilsold.htm>.
- "They Came here to Kill Us." Human Rights Watch. January 2007. 5 March 2007 <http://hrw.org/reports/2007/chad0107/>.