Ranks Of Child Soldiers Swell Again In Congo

‘Kitchanga, Congo – The prisoners are huddled in a classroom, on display for journalists visiting the rebels led by Gen. Laurent Nkunda. The setting is appropriate, because half of these soldiers are boys who should be in school but have been pressed into war.

‘Fourteen-year-old Bahati Mugisha, a soldier with a Hutu militia, says he was told in early September that he was going to join the Congolese Army. Instead, he was thrown into a fierce battle against Tutsi neighbors in the district of Ngunga, and was captured just days ago, on Sept. 9.

‘"[T]hey told us we were going to fight the Tutsis," says Bahati, speaking in the presence of a rebel intelligence officer. "I’m 14, but there are many boys younger than me. It’s hard to know how many died in battle, but I saw two who died."’ (Christian Science Monitor article).