2133 children were victims of the paramilitaries in Colombia, the country’s daily El Tiempo writes today. More than 200 children were killed. Moreover several blocks recruited child soldiers, like the Élmer Cárdenas in the north west (395 children) and a block in the Magdalena Medio area (87 children).It is the first time that concrete numbers of child soldiers of different bloques are published. It means that more attention to the issue is being paid.
The guerrillas, FARC and ELN, recrute child soldiers as well. It is estimated that Colombia has about 11.000 child soldiers.
In their book Out of Captivity, three American former FARC hostages, Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves and Thomas Howes, comment that a lot of guerrillas they see are younger than 18. Former hostage Alan Jara also tells about the lot of children who join the guerrilla because of a lack of opportunities to have a decent life.
The International Criminal Court is judging recruters of child soldiers from Africa, but has announced that it will prosecute Colombian warlords as well.
Former child soldier Ismael Beah from Sierra Leone visited Colombia recently.