Liberia: Fact Sheet
- Population: 3.2 million
- Government armed forces: 15,000
- Child soldiers: 21,000
- All government forces and faction groups recruit child soldiers, some as young as 7-years old
- MODEL- Faction called Movement for Democracy in Liberia
- LURD- Faction called Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy
- DDR efforts have failed to begin for many child soldiers and girls in the ranks of faction groups
Liberia's Current Conflict
In 2000, armed conflict began in Guinea between the faction LURD and government forces. The fighting continued to intensify through 2002, as the faction leaders continued to wreak havoc with vengeance across the country. In 2003, the faction MODEL split from LURD and began separate offensive attacks from their base in Cote D’Ivoire. Despite the banning of all weapon sales to Liberia by the UN Security Council, neighboring countries continued to provide factions and the government forces with weapons through the use of trucks. In 2003, attempts at peace collapsed in days as the President was held responsible for crimes against humanity. Violence once again surges throughout the country, and insecurity has become a regular part of the lives of Liberians.
Liberia's Use of Child Soldiers
The use of child soldiers by government forces was enforced at every level. Small Boy Units (SBUs) were formed in order to create retaliation against the widespread violence created by the faction groups. In 2003 and 2004, more and more children joined government forces and armed forces because they felt a need to protect their families from thieves and other soldiers. Children who had been previously demobilized were re-recruited and children from the age of 10 were sent to the frontline after one week of training. Girls were employed as both fighters and sexual entertainers for the young soldiers. Furthermore, various children have admitted that they served under the influence of drugs given to them by their commanders
- "Child Soldiers in Liberia." Human Rights Watch. 2004. 4 April 2007 <http://hrw.org/reports/2004/liberia0204/>.
- "Liberia." Child Soldiers Global Report 2004. 2004. 15 March 2007 <http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=781>.