Forcible recruitment of young men by the Chadian military (1999-2000) [TCD38853.E]

Citing unspecified "reliable sources," a 20 November 2000 World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) communiqué noted that forced recruitment of children was carried out by Chadian armed forces in the north of the country. The OMCT secretariat explained that:

Children are allegedly put on the front line in order to detect mines and if reluctant they are reportedly killed. These children are mainly under thirteen years old and belong to the Zagava [Zaghawa] ethnic group.
[...] Last September, Mahmoud AHMAT TOGOT, amongst others whose identities are unknown, allegedly died as a consequence of his wounds. He was trying to flee when the armed forces allegedly shot at him. The source also reported that Assadik TAHIR DJAROU, Moubarak TOM and BAKHIT HAMONOU have been forcibly recruited to the army.
[...] The recruitment is carried out by the Fast Intervention Forces (F.I.R.) headed by General Mahamat DERO, belonging to the Déby President family and by the Units of the Presidential guard (G.S.P.), headed by General Karim NASSOUR, son-in-law of the President. The two generals allegedly enjoy total impunity.
[...] These arrests preceding the forced recruitment, occur daily and take place at the sub-prefecture of Iriba, but also at the roadblocks checking movement in and from urban areas. Some arrests allegedly occurred at the roadblock of Ndjaména and some parents of those recruited, have been assaulted and some of them killed (ibid.).

Referring to Chad, the Coalition To Stop the Use of Child Soldiers stated that:

There are indications of under-18s in government armed forces, as Chad has no effective restriction on the military recruitment of volunteers who obtain the consent of a guardian. Both government and various opposition forces have recruited children for use in ongoing internal armed conflict. Demobilisation and reintegration procedures initiated in 1992 and 1996 were reportedly effective in reducing the scale of the problem.
However, the government has not improved its legislative requirements regarding minimum age for recruitment, and in November 2000 was accused of forcibly recruiting children of the Zagava [Zaghawa] ethnic group, usually under 13 years old, for detecting landmines. The government has denied the charges.
The government claims it does not currently recruit under-18s into the military. However the legality of enlisting minors who have attained the consent of a guardian undermines this claim. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation acknowledged in 1999 that there is effectively no minimum age for participation in armed conflict.
There are credible reports that minors continue to serve in military installations in the north, and reports of the forced recruitment of children - in particular teenage Zaghawa - by government forces in 2000. In November 2000 the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) reported that many of these children were under 13 years old and were sent to the frontline to detect landmines. Recruitment is thought to be carried out by the Fast Intervention Forces and the Presidential Guard, who arrest the children and place them in the armed forces operating in the north. Some parents of those recruited have been assaulted and killed. The government denied the charges of forced recruitment. But in 2001 there have been reports that Chadian families are forced to choose between letting one of their children be recruited into Idriss Déby's armed forces, or participating in the war effort by giving a certain amount of money or part of their crop. In contrast, child abduction was reported to have almost disappeared in the country (2001).
According to Country Reports 2001,
The Government officially does not permit the use of minors in the military, and observers believe that most minors were demobilized in 1997; however, there were credible reports that the military conscripted teenage Zaghawa to fight in the Tibesti region of the country.
In 2000 the Government illegally and forcibly conscripted young men from eastern areas of the country and Sudan into the army where they were trained for fighting against rebel forces in northern areas of the country. During the year, as the rebellion subsided, forced conscription generally was confined to the northern regions (2002 sect. 1.f).

While Chadian authorities denied a report that forcible recruiting of young people was conducted in Sarh, 500 Southeast of the capital, the Missionary Service News Agency (MISNA), quoting "unamed civil society sources," stated that "young people in the town [Sarh] were living in fear (IRIN 22 Nov. 2000). The same source added that "a large group" of students fled after seeing an armed recruitment truck near their school" (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Coalition To Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. 2001. Global Report. [Accessed 12 Apr. 2002]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001. 2002. United States Department of State. Washington, DC. [Accessed 11 Apr. 2002]

Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN). 22 November 2000. "West Africa; IRIN-WA. Update of Events in West Africa." (NEXIS)

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). 20 November 2000. AMCT Appeals: Chad: Forced Recruitment of Children in the Armed Forces. [Accessed 15 Apr. 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential 1999-2000.

Africa Research Bulletin 1999-2000.

IRB databases.

Jeune Afrique/L'Intelligent 2000.


Mondes rebelles. 1999-2001.

West Africa 1999-2000.

Internet sites including:

The Africa Newswire Network - Chad.

Amnesty International.

BBC News.

Chad Page.

Féderation internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme (FIDH).

Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Search engines including: