Slaves, virgin concubines, eunuchs, gun-boys, community defenders, child soldiers: The historical enlistment and use of children by armed groups in the Central African Republic

In this report we elaborate on the historical dimensions of young people’s enrolment and use in armed groups or armed forces in the Central African Republic (CAR). While this phenomenon, also understood as the enlistment and use of child soldiers, is often seen as a recent phenomenon, the report aims to show that children and adolescents have historically been involved in self-defence groups or were forcefully recruited in what is currently the territory of CAR. In the past, they were not called child soldiers; they may not even have always been seen as children due to different cultural definitions of childhood. However, the phenomenon is not new as will be shown in this report.
This is ASCL Working Paper 148.
Also read about the (completed) research project 'Being young in times of duress in the Central African Republic'.
Photo credit: UNICEF Netherlands.

Author(s) / editor(s)

Marius Crépin Mouguia, Jonna Both and Mirjam de Bruijn

About the author(s) / editor(s)

Marius Crépin Mouguia is a PhD student in Anthropology at Leiden University and the University of Bangui, Central African Republic. 

Dr Jonna Both is an anthropologist with research experience in Uganda, Chad and the Central African Republic, focusing on youth, generations, conflict, trauma, migration, history, NGOs, humanitarian aid.

Mirjam de Bruijn is Professor in African Studies at Leiden University.