Article from ROAPE Volume 28 Number 87
Child Soldiers in the Civil War in Sierra Leone

Child Soldiers in the Civil War in Sierra Leone
Vol.28 No.87 (March 2001), pp73-82
This article examines the factors which have brought children into social movements challenging those wielding political power in Sierra Leone. It reviews the manner of their recruitment and the roles they have played in the civil war. The analysis is premised on the notion that peripheral capitalism has transformed the form of the family, loosening controls over children. With ongoing crises in both the economic and political realms undermining kinship structures and leaving children with little security, some have turned to surrogate families for protection, either on the street or in the ranks of combatants. Although some of the children who have participated in the war have been volunteers, thousands more have been abducted and socialised via brute violence by both sides.