The majority of these regional warriors began their fighting careers after being forcibly recruited by either the NPFL or the RUF, usually when they were still children. After fighting in their first war, however, nearly all willingly crossed borders to fight in other wars or ‘missions,’ a term these fighters used for war. At the time of recruitment into these subsequent wars, almost all were unemployed or living a precarious economic existence, and were motivated by the promise of both financial compensation and the opportunity to loot. Most interviewed received at least part of the financial compensation offered by the recruiters, and all participated in the looting and pillage of mostly civilian property, and benefited economically from it. Most used the money to pay rent, school and medical fees for their extended family, and to engage in petty trading.
The report basically states that children are often forcibly recruited into armed gangs and militias. Once a part of the force, the kids are exposed to (and experience themselves) drug abuse, rape, and various other atrocities (human rights violations ad nauseum). They, in turn, do it themselves. When the militias disband, the soldiers are left with no property, no food, and no means of earning their way besides fighting, so they join militas in other war-zones as mercenaries. Extreme poverty and no rule of law leads to continued violence? Imagine that.
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