Open main menu

The use of Child soldiers in Somalia has been an ongoing issue. In the battles for Mogadishu all parties involved in the conflicts such as the Union of Islamic Courts, the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism and the Transitional Federal Government(TFG) forces recruited children for use in combat.[1]

The TFG is listed by the United Nations(UN) as one of the greatest offenders in the recruitment of children into their armed forces. The militant rebel group al-Shabaab who are fighting to establish an Islamic state are another major recruiter of children.[2]

International reactionsEdit

The European Union(EU) and the United States(US) are the primary supporters of the TFG, with the US having paid wages to the TFG armed forces, which means the US is supporting a government which violates the US Child Soldiers Protection Act [3]

In 2017 UN Secretary-General António Guterres commented on a report from the UN security council which estimated that of Al-Shabaab's fighting strength was made up of over fifty percent children, with some as young as nine being sent to the front. The report verified that 6163 children had been recruited between 1 April 2010 and 31 July 2016 of which 230 were girls. Al-Shabab accounted for 4213, seventy percent of verified cases. According to the report, a task force in Somalia verified the recruitment and use of 6,163 children – 5,993 boys and 230 girls – during the period from April 1, 2010 to July 31, 2016, with more than 30 percent of the cases in 2012. And the Somali National Army accounted for 920 children serving.[4][5]

In 2010 Human Rights Watch reported that Al-Shabaab were recruiting children as young as ten to bolster their forces. Children are abducted from their homes and schools with entire classes at times being abducted.[6] in 2012 Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Africa, has stated that, “Somalia is not only a humanitarian crisis: it is a human rights crisis and a Children's rights's crisis. As a child in Somalia, you risk death all the time: you can be killed, recruited and sent to the frontline, punished by al-Shabab because you are caught listening to music or ‘wearing the wrong clothes’, be forced to fend for yourself because you have lost your parents or even die because you don’t have access to adequate medical care.[7]



  • Graeme, R. Newman (2010). Crime and Punishment around the World. p. 201. ISBN 978-0313351334.
  • Guterres, Antonio (20 January 2017). "Guterres: Thousands of child soldiers fight in Somalia". Aljazeera. Associated Press. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  • Johnson, Dustin (30 January 2017). "Preventing the Use of Child Soldiers in Somalia". Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  • Kagari, Michelle (20 July 2012). "Somalia: Children's rights recruited as child soldiers, denied education, killed in attacks – New report". Amnesty International. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  • Rosen, David M. (2012). Child Soldiers: A Reference Handbook. ABC CLIO. ISBN 978-1598845266.
  • Tancos, Kathryn (22 February 2012). "More child soldiers in Somalia fighting". CNN. Retrieved 30 May 2017.